Burger chain’s rapid expansion to 50 outlets

 

FROM humble beginnings, a beach shack-themed burger chain founded on the Sunshine Coast is betting on a super-sized expansion over the coming years.

Betty's Burgers & Concrete Co managing director Troy McDough wants to double the number of outlets to 50 in the next 18 months, with a goal of filling what he sees as a gap in the market for premium burgers.

Its newest store, on bustling Albert St in Brisbane's CBD, is slated to open later this month and will be its 26th location.

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It's a far cry from the first shop front in 2014, founded by entrepreneur David Hales in Noosa.

Hales left the business when it was taken over in 2017 by Retail Zoo, owner of Boost Juice, as it began opening other outlets in Queensland and interstate.

Edin Read from Betty’s Burgers, Indooroopilly. The burger chain is set to undergo a rapid expansion, especially interstate, over the next two years. Picture: AAP Image/Josh Woning.
Edin Read from Betty’s Burgers, Indooroopilly. The burger chain is set to undergo a rapid expansion, especially interstate, over the next two years. Picture: AAP Image/Josh Woning.

Mr McDough said the success of the brand had come from three key areas - having a consistent theme hooked around a laid-back beach lifestyle, ensuring it employed welcoming staff, and maintaining a simplistic menu.

"Beach-shack ambience has been really important for us to grow," he said.

"That was captured well at Noosa, and we've really tried hard at each location we've opened."

Eleven stores have opened in the past 12 months and Mr McDough said it was now aggressively pushing into NSW and Victoria as a natural direction for the company following its success in the Sunshine State.

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"We've obviously spent a fair bit of time in the past six months, and in the (coming) six months spend more time getting our roots deep into those two states," he said.

"We feel we're an established and somewhat known brand in Queensland, so we feel like that's our home state."

The interstate expansion of Betty's Burgers also mimics the growth pattern of Retail Zoo, its parent company, which grew from a single Boost Juice store into a food empire.

With the opening of the Albert St store, Mr McDough said Betty's Burgers would employ about 2,000 staff nationwide and did not expect to slow down in coming years.

Betty’s Burgers founder David Hales' at the chain’s original store in Noosa in 2015. Picture: Eric Blaich.
Betty’s Burgers founder David Hales' at the chain’s original store in Noosa in 2015. Picture: Eric Blaich.

Despite retail's unpredictable nature, Retail Zoo said it would open 150 Betty's stores in the next five years if conditions remained rosy.

"We think we will get to 50 (stores) over the 12 to 24 months," Mr McDough said.

"We believe there's another place for a premium offer in this category, and we like to think we're starting to fill that space."

There is also interest in Betty's Burgers expanding overseas, but Mr McDough said it was a long-term goal.

"There is interest internationally," Mr McDough said. "To date, we've had interest as far reaching as Ireland and New Zealand.

"But our priority at the moment is to make sure the Australian business is right, and we expand carefully and in a considered way.

"At the moment we are very, very focused on the East Coast of Australia, as a brand."

Betty's Burgers’ success had been down to its ‘beach shack aesthetic,’ according to the chain’s managing director Troy McDough. Picture: File.
Betty's Burgers’ success had been down to its ‘beach shack aesthetic,’ according to the chain’s managing director Troy McDough. Picture: File.

Asked how Retail Zoo intended to manage the growth plans, Mr McDough rejected the idea that it was overly ambitious, saying Retail Zoo was intent on preserving the character of Betty's Burgers.

"(It's not ambitious) based on what we've done over the past year," he said.

"We're opening restaurants that are well thought out and selected well, we take time to do that," he said.

The company is now most interested in setting up shop on high streets, corner stop developments and in traditional shopping centres.

But Mr McDough said these newer stores would preserve the beach-shack vibe and welcoming feel.

"It's often easy to say that, but we really commit a lot to our people," he said.


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