Australia as incubator

Major chains have been turning to the outback as a testing ground for ideas to bring home. Starbucks’ latest menu add, the Flat White, is a latte variant imported from Down Under. Subway is backing New Zealand-based BurgerFuel’s entry into the U.S. And McDonald’s chose Australia as the testing ground for its chic new concept, The Corner, in a converted McCafe unit in Sydney. What’s more, operators are tapping Aussies to test customization models: McD’s trialed its “Create Your Taste” custom-burger model with self-ordering kiosks and tableside delivery in western Sydney this past October; now it’s available in select U.S. markets and plans are to expand it throughout Australia by the end of the year. And Domino’s currently is running its responsive Pizza Mogul model in Australia, allowing customers to design their own pizza, then brand their creation, share it via social media and earn money each time their pizza is sold. 


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