Serv­ing up de­li­cious roast chicken has been the mis­sion of Red Rooster since it be­gan 46 years ago.

Inside Franchise Business - - Contents -

Red Rooster has been serv­ing up roast chicken meals for 46 years.

Imag­ine where a $27,000 in­vest­ment can lead to? For Red Rooster founder Peter Kailis, putting his hard-earned cash into the chicken busi­ness 46 years ago has more than paid off.

Hos­pi­tal­ity was in Peter Kailis’ blood – his Greek-born par­ents bought and op­er­ated for decades a fish and chip shop in Perth – and he had owned and op­er­ated sev­eral large com­pa­nies in­clud­ing a pack­ag­ing com­pany and a tim­ber fac­tory, build­ing com­pa­nies from scratch and es­tab­lish­ing en­dur­ing pro­cesses and man­age­ment sys­tems.

It was in 1972 that Kailis and nine part­ners in­vested in an ex­ist­ing chicken ro­tis­serie shop and so the Red Rooster busi­ness was born, in Kelm­scott, Perth. But the road to suc­cess wasn’t al­ways an easy jour­ney – within the first 12 months the com­pany, which Kailis chaired, had lost $100,000 and one of the part­ners.


The losses pan­icked other share­hold­ers but Kailis kept his cool and even­tu­ally bought out all the part­ners. Then one store turned into four, an ex­pan­sion that was built on happy cus­tomers shar­ing the news about the brand. No money was spent on ad­ver­tis­ing.

In those days the cost of a whole roast chook, stuffed, was $1.95. Peter Kailis de­vel­oped the Hawai­ian Pack (orig­i­nally with a banana frit­ter), and he also in­vented the Rooster Roll as a way of us­ing up left­over chicken- these are both pop­u­lar items still on the Red Rooster menu today. The Hawai­ian is still his chicken of choice.

Today the busi­ness is led by CEO Chris Green, who has worked in fast food for three decades, start­ing out as a 15 year old in Hornsby’s McDon­ald’s.

Green has had key roles in the global gi­ant in­clud­ing vice pres­i­dent of op­er­a­tions and fran­chis­ing in Malaysia, di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions in Aus­tralia, and di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions in South Africa.

Shar­ing his 46th birth­day with Red Rooster, Green says “Be­ing at the helm of Red Rooster is a dream job for me. The job is chal­leng­ing but very fun and re­ward­ing. Watch­ing the trans­for­ma­tion of stores, see­ing the brand grow - ev­ery day I get to work with the best food, the best peo­ple and the best brand.”

It was Green who ini­ti­ated the de­liv­ery op­tion with a ded­i­cated dig­i­tal plat­form and web­site. These have en­abled fran­chisees to get their roast chicken on the move and home-de­liv­ered to hun­gry cus­tomers.


The pas­sion for Red Rooster is shared by fran­chisee leg­end Sue Lo­max who has been on the jour­ney with the chicken busi­ness

since 1977. For nearly 40 years Lo­max worked in the cor­po­rate busi­ness, only re­cently leap­ing into the chal­leng­ing role of a fran­chisee.

But she hasn’t looked back and now em­ploys about 50 lo­cal staff in her two busy out­lets in Or­ange and Dubbo in New South Wales.

Fel­low fran­chisee Dimi Cum­ner has also notched up a few decades with Red Rooster, start­ing as a teenager be­hind the counter. Cum­ner was in­ducted in to the com­pany’s Hall of Fame in 2016 for her con­tri­bu­tion to the brand.

“Over the years I have watched the Red Rooster brand grow and evolve. There have been changes and chal­lenges but what I’ve learned from my life with Reds is that it’s all about the food and the cus­tomer.”

For hos­pi­tal­ity pro­fes­sional Kylie John­son, fran­chisee of two Townsville out­lets, jug­gling staff, fam­ily, and the busi­ness still leaves her with time to join in with com­mu­nity ini­tia­tives. Like her fel­low fran­chisees, John­son is com­mit­ted to serv­ing the lo­cal com­mu­nity and she is the key fig­ure be­hind the drought ap­peal Buy a Bale, help­ing Aussie farm­ers.

“We are proud of what we bring to our cus­tomers and com­mu­ni­ties,” she says, “and pas­sion­ate about see­ing the brand get big­ger and better. De­liv­ery has to­tally ex­ploded, tak­ing our food to more cus­tomers than ever be­fore.”

Peter Kailis and Chris Green

Peter Kailis in the early days

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