Following the closure of five franchises in the space of a week, Hog's Breath Cafe have announced their intent to revitalise the brand, which will include maintaining stores in St Marys and Penrith.
The well-known eatery company made headlines last week after the confirmed closure of a number of stores in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. With two of their only remaining Sydney locations in the heart of the west, there are concerns that the local stores may be next in line for closure. While the company cannot confirm that there won't be more closures in the future, it appears the west Sydney stores are safe for now.
The St Marys Hog's Breath (pictured) has remained in its current location since opening in 1999. The first ever Hog's Breath in western Sydney, it was also one of the first to open in a non-coastal location, and at its peak became one of the brand's most successful stores for a long time pre-Covid.
The Penrith store, originally opened in 2005 in Westfield, now sits on standalone premises opposite BlueBet Stadium.
The recently-closed stores have been Tuggerah and Coffs Harbour (NSW), Dandenong and Karingal (Vic) and Gladstone (Qld). Just over 30 locations remain across the country, down from a peak of 85 less than 10 years ago.
Head office has repeatedly refuted suggestions the company is in financial trouble, citing various circumstances around the recent closures from franchisee health to increased competition as well as the economic challenges created by Covid and significant weather events in recent years. Real Sydney was told that the franchise is now looking to revitalise the brand following its recent re-acquisition by the original owners during the pandemic.
"When we are forced to close a restaurant or a franchisee decides to leave the system, we work closely with the staff to ensure they are aware of the process as well as their rights, but ultimately the employment relationship is between the franchisee and the staff members," CEO Steven Spurgin said in a release.
"We have many successful restaurants and happy franchisees and we’re very confident in the further expansion of the brand under the new management, with our new interior design and size of restaurant, and our continued regeneration in a post-Covid world."
These plans will include a refit of a number of stores, though it's not known yet how these plans will affect the local premises. Though their intent is to downsize and offer smaller spaces for new locations to create a more intimate dining experience, both the St Marys and Penrith stores have considerable floor space.
Despite the significant challenges the industry has had to overcome in recent years, the band has developed a solid reputation within the community, thanks in part to their significant involvement with sports sponsorship and other means of engagement.