From a single pie cart to a global business: Harry’s Café de Wheels carts into China

It started out as a single pie cart in Woolloomooloo, and now, Sydney’s renowned Harry’s Caf_ de Wheels is franchising into China.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Harry’s owner Michael Hannah has signed a 15 year deal to expand the iconic pie carts across China.

Hannah said he was contacted six months ago by two Chinese businessmen, Stevi Xu and Sam Mei, who studied at St Andrew’s school in Sydney in the early 2000s and fell in love with the snack stop.

Hannah confirmed that he would work with his partners to ensure the sites and food are as aligned to the Australia model. The project has been fully supported by Austrade. The beef will be sourced from Australian cattle bred in China so that it is the same meat used in Australia.

“It’s important to me that we make sure the brand of Harry’s is protected and the quality of the product we serve over there is equal to that which we provide here,” Hannah said.

“The flour and a lot of other ingredients that are in our pies and can’t be sourced locally will be shipped in containers monthly from Australia.”

The iconic Harry’s store will influence the new shopfronts in China. Plans are in place to open the first outlet in Hong Kong or Shenzhen in the next six months.

Hannah said that although the famous beef pies will be a big part of the franchise, pork pies would be considered to cater for the Asian diet. He also thought Harry’s chicken pies would be well liked with the Chinese market.

He won’t reveal the total sum he received for the franchise, but said it could attract millions of dollars into Australian trade over the next ten years.

“It’s exciting to take a little bit of Australia overseas and I am determined to make it successful, for that reason the contract is performance based. It will work as a partnership,’’ Hannah said.

Tips for expanding overseas

If you’re thinking about expanding your franchise overseas, make sure you do your research. You should ensure that you:

  • Understand the market you are interested in
  • Have identified a clear demand for your product or service
  • Are aware of the cultural practices and customs avoid offending locals

Read more about: What you need to know about international expansion

Learn more: Is your franchise ready for international expansion?