RFG boss: getting back to core business is crucial

By Sarah Stowe | 26 Apr 2021 View comments

Retail Food Group executive chair Peter George has taken to social media to share his view of the group’s restructure, reiterating the need to return RFG to its core business.

He is predicting the ongoing restructure and new blood in management ranks will result in RFG remaining the country’s largest multi-brand retail food franchisor and becoming “the most successful for its franchise partners”.

George was brought in as a turnaround specialist to the beleaguered multi-brand business back in November 2018.

In the recent corporate blog, also shared in a LinkedIn post, he said slashing costs and waste were essential steps alongside recognising and enhancing the core business.

“When you get it right, you ensure you have people spending their time on the things that really count: revenues, market share and customer satisfaction,” he wrote.

“I have driven this sort of turnaround at PMP Ltd, Nylex and B Digital Ltd, where we returned to core operations and sustainable profits. At RFG, our core business is our eight retail brands and the many franchise partners who operate under them – approximately 700 domestically, who employ over 7000 Australians, and around 600 outlets across 59 international licensed territories. ”

George said the strategy has franchisees as “the over-riding focus of each and every one of our decisions, underpinned by a firm appreciation that we will succeed where our franchise partners succeed”.

The strategy has included head office rationalisation, the reorganisation of brands into an internal division IconicCo to improve franchisee support and revenue growth, the redeployment of brand GMs to be directly responsible for franchisee needs and the establishment of a unit to resolve multi-unit franchisee concerns.

In the commentary, George said he implementation of about 150 marketing and product campaigns has resulted in a boost of at least $30 million in additional network sales.

He also pointed to positive action taken during Covid to support franchisees.

“We assisted franchise partners by suspending marketing levies, removing minimum service fees, deferred debt-repayments, waived interest and negotiated rental concessions,” he wrote.

In this blog the executive chair also referenced the ongoing challenges for the group.

“Some regulatory overhang continues for RFG, namely the ACCC’s legal action which concerns allegations that are historical and which occurred under various senior executives who are no longer with the company. These proceedings concern alleged contraventions in relation to the sale or licence of 42 corporate-owned stores as well as management of the marketing funds for a number of our brands, and we intend to defend them.

“The other overhang is the pandemic. Normal trading conditions have not yet returned to Australian shopping centres… but conditions are improving, and as Covid recedes we are seeing improvements in many of our franchise partners’ stores,” he wrote.

[Picture: RFG corporate view]