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WHAT TO DO WITH GEORGIE PIE?

by Simon Lord,
last updated 22/07/2013

August 2009 - Over the last year or so, there's been a lot of media interest in a Facebook campaign to bring back Georgie Pie.

The 1990's pie franchise was established by Progressive Enterprises as a home-grown alternative to the fast food multinationals in New Zealand. The chain was sold to McDonald's in 1996 and subsequently disappeared. Recently, however, McDonald's has been questioned as to whether it might bring back the brand.

‘It's a real tough one for us,' McDonald's New Zealand MD Mark Hawthorne told a recent meeting in Auckland. ‘Georgie Pie is clearly a much-loved brand, but people tell us they don't want it back in anything other than its original form with free-standing restaurants. But that financial model didn't work! Are we interested in putting Georgie Pie product into McDonald's in some way? It's certainly something we're investigating. The question is, how can we leverage the equity without damaging our own brand?'

He pointed out that the market has altered considerably in the last 15 years, as evidenced by McDonald's own menu changes and the development of the McCafé brand. ‘We could certainly replicate the original pies but people's tastes have moved on - the pies would probably taste a bit cardboard now.'

Promoting a high-fat, low quality product like the original Georgie Pies would certainly be totally out of line with everything McDonald's has been trying to achieve in the past decade. Nonetheless, with a reported 28,000 members of the ‘Bring Back Georgie Pie' Facebook group and a temporary restaurant opened as a stunt in Christchurch for a day selling out within the hour  there's clearly a lot of interest. Enough to make it succeed second time around? Time will tell...

See the 2013 coverage of McDonald's decision to trial the return of  Georgie Pie here.

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