The food franchise feeding AFL Finals teams

Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers, the fast growing Brisbane-based franchise, scored a major win with its dedication and resourcefulness in securing AFL team contracts. 

West Coast Eagles Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers On Franchise Buyer

The new revenue streams generated, as well as the flow-on impacts, have been vital to the business to help replace covid losses over the last 18 months.

At the same time, the brand has experienced incredible growth in the current market, with 7 stores opened over the last 20 months. 

Given the hustle on display to secure AFL team meal contracts, this growth probably comes as no surprise.

Co-Founder, Ben Cleary-Corradini, tells the story behind how the AFL deals happened.

The AFL opportunity

“Given the proximity of our South Bank restaurant to the Gabba in Brisbane, we saw an awesome opportunity to start feeding the AFL teams for their pre and post game carb loading sessions with our gnocchi.”

“Since we started this little revenue hustle we have fed local teams Brisbane Lions and the Gold Coast SUNS, who via word of mouth helped us win a pivotal deal to supply visiting teams playing in Brisbane.

Those teams have included the Melbourne Football Club, West Coast Eagles, Essendon Football Club and for the first time on Saturday 4th September, we proudly fed the mighty Western Bulldogs after the semi-final.”

“Supporting sporting teams of all types in this manner is a whole income stream we never even considered prior, and it’s now a clear part of our marketing plans going forward.”

Queensland Firebirds With Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers On Franchise Buyer

A team that didn’t qualify for JobKeeper

The team at the Southbank, Brisbane restaurant in particular, has been critical in making this happen.

“I have to say that I’m very proud of Gerardo Amador and our team at Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers Southbank for their constant hustle in chasing new revenue streams these last 18 months and growing our sales despite the obvious challenges.”

This was all the more important for Ben and the entire team, with the extra revenue from securing the contracts important to the business in many ways.

“Like so many hospitality businesses in Australia, about 70% of our workforce are international students who did not qualify for JobKeeper - they needed work to survive.”

“...I feel privileged that I can employ not only Aussies but also international workers who appreciate every single dollar we earn together, particularly the dollars we have to hustle hard to gain.”

Western Bulldogs Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers On Franchise Buyer

AFL Dietician’ support

According to Ben, the key in securing the contracts to feed the teams, was to understand who makes the decisions about food at AFL level.

“We were initially unsure about who the decision-maker is on meals for an AFL team, and thus, who to approach.”

“Then, as luck would have it, the dietician for the Brisbane Lions actually approached us about sourcing meals for the team. And from that, we quickly understood that it was the dieticians who essentially have budget control over this in the AFL system - which is obviously important to know!”

“AFL team dieticians also talk to each other. The Lions dietician introduced us to the Gold Coast Suns, so we started supplying them at the Gabba and Metricon.”

“And then while playing Essendon at Metricon, the Suns introduced us to the Bombers’ dietician as well.

And this went on and on - it was amazing!”

Tarmac service

Ben explains that as good as the supply deal was for business, it was also great for the entire team, and gave everyone a real buzz, especially when it came to arriving and personally handing the gnocchi to the teams.

“We’d do two types of supply; pre-game carb loading and post-game recovery meals. 

The delivery time slots were always tight and very regimented, say 12-1215 time drop window only, and we had to get through the security and varying check points.”

“Post game we’d at times even be dropping meals directly onto planes for a teams’ quick departure.”

“It’s obviously been fantastic for the business, and a great experience. The teams are so supportive and sharing. They just always really appreciated the product and the effort to make it happen.”