How US brand Graze Craze is shaping up for the Aussie market

Graze Craze Aussie market
The US model was adjusted before launching in Sydney. (Source: Supplied)

What will make Graze Craze, the charcuterie and grazing board franchise which recently launched in Sydney, a successful translation of a US business?

It has a good pedigree, for starters. Graze Craze was founded by a US Veteran in 2018, and joined Starpoint Brand’s franchise portfolio in 2021. Starpoint is part of the United Franchise Group, which brought Signarama and Fully Promoted (a combination of EmbroidMe and another firm) to Australia. The signage firm just celebrating its 25th anniversary in this country.

Graze Craze now boasts 48 locations open in the US, with 175 locations to be developed in the next several years.

The feedback on the brand has been extremely positive, says Timothy Smith, managing director of Starpoint Brands Australia.

“Having spent a career working across the US and Australia, there is often a misconception that what works in the US, won’t translate over to Australia,” he says.

Shifting the dial from US to Aus

“Subtle cultural nuances do exist from time to time, but these can be turned into opportunities once adapted for our market. Being headquartered in the US gives us great insight into the potential opportunities here in Australia. We used to be a couple of years behind the trends, but this gap has closed significantly.

“When we first partnered with the founder of Graze Craze in the US, we could see it was a great business in its own right, but to expand via the franchising model it required a few tweaks. We’ve refined the business model to make it suited for franchising and to maximise opportunities for franchisees. 

“Occupancy costs and labour rates can really differ between the US and Australia. To offset this, we looked at how we could make the operational side of the business more efficient to reduce the physical footprint required. This involved not only refining the layout of the back-of-house area, but also changing the charcuterie boards and menu offering to make preparation more efficient. 

“We have also ensured we partner with vendors that offer excellent service and and swift delivery times so franchisees can operate very lean, just-in-time (JIT) business models, cutting down on required stock levels at any point in time. This cuts down storage space requirements significantly, and consequently has the additional benefit of improved cashflow and reduced wastage.

“Branding wise, for the Australian market, we’ve added our own flavour to the counter area with regards to the fit-out. We’ve added different textures and used a slightly different colour palette, whilst still maintaining the overall look and feel of a Graze Craze. It was important for us to ensure the presentation of the brand fits with modern Australian trends,” says Smith.  

Graze Craze perfect for the Australian market

Australians love communal style dining experiences shared with friends and family, he points out and that suits the new franchise.

“The whole social aspect of how our charcuterie boards are shared means Graze Craze is perfect for corporate networking events, weddings, private gatherings, celebrations and even romantic picnics for two.

“We also have a growing obsession with positive health and well-being which we’ll tailor our marketing towards. Our menu has various options that cater for special dietary requirements such as keto-friendly grazing boards as well as gluten-free and vegetarian options.”

Franchisees don’t require food or hospitality experience to successfully operate and grow a Graze Craze food and catering business, he says.

“What we want is entrepreneurs who show passion and enthusiasm for the brand. It’s going to be a great year ahead,” says Smith.

“We have strategic goals for expanding the network initially in NSW, before then opening up the opportunity across the country. Knowing what we know through our history of successfully launching US brands in Australia, supporting the first nucleus of franchisees will be integral to the success and growth of Graze Craze here,” he says.