Tom Potter, founder of Eagle Boys Pizza joined the Owner Manager Program 8 group to share his story on the growth and subsequent sale of Eagle Boys Pizza. Many people probably don’t know the story of a young 22 year old that started Eagle Boys with $12,000 and grew it to open over 280 stores in Australian and New Zealand, prior to selling to both management and Private Equity in 2007.
In 2007 Eagle Boys had a significant share of the Pizza market on the east coast and their franchisees were making very good Gross Profits and EBIT. Some may remember their classic positioning offer “ready in 2 minutes or it’s free”. They had developed a market share and customer base that were very loyal to the brand. At the time Eagle Boys was one of the top 3 recognised brands in New Zealand.
Tom told some interesting stories including the time they set up operations in Fiji which were subsequently destroyed by the military coup when the armed soldiers ate all the delivery pizza at the military road blocks.
Tom won the Australian Financial Review Australian Young Businessperson of the year and won a scholarship to complete the Harvard Owner Manager Presidents program. Hence his commitment to the education of business owners such as the Australian Owner Manager Program.
We didn’t dwell on the demise of the business after he sold it. The demise is well documented in the media and a classic case of poor strategic decisions and governance at a time when selling and delivering Pizza was getting easier rather than harder with the advent of online ordering, GPS, mapping technology and mobile devices to name a few. Tom now sits on a number of boards and spends his time advising a select group of companies on growth.
One of his key messages was being very clear on your target market, on what differentiates your business and not competing on price, but on value. In many cases it is focusing on one core differentiator that provides value to your target customer and is difficult for your competition to emulate. So many businesses are trying to be all things to all people and end up in a commodity market.
Above all a great story and a great end to the March 2017 Australian Owner Manager Program.