McCain: Hi Tim, thanks for talking with us. Let’s start at the beginning; how did you get into owning Rascal’s?
Tim: It’s an interesting story, we actually originally looked to open a restaurant, myself and my main two business partners are chef’s all from a fine dining background, we are all hatted chefs who were working in Sydney, overseas and elsewhere, so we wanted to open a restaurant, but our other business partner suggested a burger restaurant in the meantime. We all have families so thought this may be a better work life balance, but it has been unrelenting since we opened the doors, our volume has been huge.
McCain: What do you believe makes your business successful?
Tim: I’d like to think it’s our point of difference in the fast food sector. We try and use fresh local produce, make all our own sauces, and our own chip seasoning, breads are local, meats are locally sourced. We try to be creative with what we do, the brand is all about fun, the whole idea behind Rascals is to be fun and get people’s attention. We are a little bit punk, we play reggae and hip hop and try to be irreverent, we are all Rascals at heart.
McCain: What is currently your trending signature dish on the menu?
Tim: We do a burger of the week every week, to varying degrees of success, they are always popular, but some weeks we get one that will gain a sub culture. We made one two weeks ago called the Rick Sanchez and we were selling 120-130 burgers a day. This can sometimes shape our menu, especially with social media, you can gain a real following with certain menu items. Burgers of the week are definitely our most successful items.
McCain: You currently have on your menu McCain Stay Crisp 10mm and Hash Brown Nuggets, what made you select these potato products for your business?
Tim: We switched from a competitor product to McCain one month ago, we moved over for a couple of reasons, firstly the product is gluten free which is becoming bigger out there, which is a big thing for us. Secondly we are chef’s, so the main criteria is taste and the McCain product had a much better potato taste than the competitors. We had a bunch of our chef’s line up for a bit of a blind taste test and every single one picked McCain as the best product.
McCain: How do you manage multiple fries?
Tim: We have multiple fryers, and keep them at different temperatures, we keep one free of gluten, others for chicken and one dedicated fryer for fries. Quality of oil is super important to ensure product quality so we filter several times a day.
McCain: Are you aware how much profit you make on fries per serve/plate?
Tim: Yes, I am, and whilst quality is important we are also conscious of price. McCain was not only the better quality, but it was also better value, we also know certain menu items are not as profitable as others, but selling fries props up those menu items that are not as profitable.
McCain: There are a lot of fast food outlets everywhere, how do you deal with all the competition? What do you do differently to stand out?
Tim: At the end of the day, we always try to not watch what everyone else is doing, we don’t follow local businesses on instagram, we do watch businesses outside of Newcastle, like Melbourne, London, we just want to create a brand that is fun and different, the product has to be good otherwise people won’t come back. We want to be consistent and unique, and that is our point of difference.
McCain: What do your customers want in terms of fries?
Tim: Customers want crunch, internal fluffiness and consistency. We also make our own flavoured salt which compliments the fries.
McCain: Do you sell loaded fries? If yes, what do you currently have on the menu?
Tim: Yes we sell mccain stay crisp 10mm loaded buffalo fries and we also have loaded mccain hash brown nuggets with a blue cheese ranch style topping which are a huge seller!
McCain: What advice do you have for fast food business owners when it comes to selecting fries?
Tim: Try a range of products to find the one that suits your business needs, brand and your price points. And also make sure you find out what your customers want. We chose mccain as it suits our business needs.
McCain: How do you get new ideas for your menu?
Tim: We are very creative and conscious of trends and we try to reference pop culture a lot. Our burgers have pop culture references in their names, having fun and being irreverent shapes our menu ideas.
McCain: What inspires you as a fast food business owner?
Tim: I’ve always loved hospitality, I like to feed people, and in a fine dining restaurant its about producing food for quite a small market, and its a different enterprise to a fast food outlet. Whereas here, you have an immediate physical response, you can see people enjoying it, posting on instagram, they will give immediate feedback, wave over the counter, and in that regard it’s actually really satisfying. It is so satisfying to have a popular and busy venue, the public response after our honeymoon period has been fantastic and that is a very satisfying feeling.