A few weeks ago in Nerang, QLD whilst headed to the Gold Coast theme parks, we spotted a strange sight: a freestanding Pie Face store. Something just felt horribly wrong about it, mostly: does Pie Face really sell enough or offer enough of an experience to justify its own building (complete with drive through?).
If anything, Pie Face has been disappointing over the years. I'll never forget one late buzzy night on Oxford St when I went to order the tandoori vegetable pie (one of the few options for vegetarians available) and asked to receive the same sale discount they were offering on 3 of their most popular meat pies, knowing full well the cost (both economically and environmentally) to produce a beef pie is much more than a vegetable pie. But the gal at the counter said she couldn't sell it to me for the discounted price.
Needless to say I was livid (and drunk - never a good combination). I'd been going to Pie Face frequently for years - you could say I was a "high volume customer" - aka valuable to the business. But because the employee wasn't empowered to act on her own, she lost my business and I've never been back.
Pie Face's financial troubles have been well-documented already, citing too-aggressive expansion plans overseas, high rents and declining sales. But overall to us it's also about the lack of innovation - sure they added mushy peas and mashed potato as a "stack"... but compared to other quick service outlets like Macca's and Subway who are always launching new products, Pie Face has always felt a bit stagnant. Which is sad really, because I was a fan once, a major advocate. And now, I'm feeling just a bit like Tyra:
I would love to be "surprised and delighted" by Pie Face once again - but until then it's dirty street kebabs for me.