ASSIGNMENT:

Georgie Pie is back - for some

Last updated 12:00 09/05/2013
Georgie Pie
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax NZ Zoom
McDonald's New Zealand managing director Patrick Wilson speaks about the new Georgie Pie. It followed a marketing splash from McDonald's hinting at a wider return for the beloved pie restaurants.

Georgie Pie returns

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Georgie Pie is back. Sort of and for some.

After 15 years in the culinary wilderness, the smell of pure nostalgia will be wafting out of a handful of Auckland and Waikato restaurants next month.

The classic Steak Mince 'N' Cheese pie will be sold over the counter at seven McDonalds restaurants in Auckland and four in the Waikato with a potential national rollout later in the year.

Managing director Patrick Wilson said it was an exciting time for the brand and they had been working on bringing back the popular product since 2009.

However, he warned the $1 menu was a thing of the past. The new pies - using the same recipe as the old but without MSG - will cost $4.50.

Wilson said bringing back a product at 15 years was a ''highly complex process''.

"Our research suggests that Kiwis still have a big appetite for their favourite pie brand. We're hopeful that after the launch excitement, our customers will come back and enjoy what is a great tasting, quality product. We will then evaluate the pilot and look at options for a nationwide rollout."

He  talked about the importance of staying true to the original product and "treating the brand with the respect it deserves".

So how does it taste?

After a frenzied press conference, half a dozen trays of pies fresh from the oven were unveiled.

It's a mince and cheese - better than a garage pie, not as good as most bakery pies. Solid but unspectacular.

However, Wilson was confident the cult following would have even wider appeal.

He revealed there had been interest from Australia and the Asia-Pacific market but nothing had been set in stone until the New Zealand pilot had run its course.

To add to the reminiscence McDonalds will be using the same Goodman Fielder production line in Manukau that they used 15 years ago and three of the employees who helped produce the original Georgie Pie are still among the ranks.

If there is a national launch towards the end of the year, McDonalds said there will be a greater range of flavours and probably a fruit pie thrown into the mix.

It would be unlikely the popularity would lead to stand-alone Georgie Pie stores, as there used to be.

Wilson said the cost of $4-5 million to set up a restaurant was not realistic.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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