When strolling through the frozen foods section at your local Whole Foods, check out Boomerang Pies–flaky gourmet Aussie style meat and veggie hand-held pies, manufactured by Austin Entrepreneurs Lance McInnes and Jack Fennell.
Being University of Texas graduates, these Texas boys set out to bring an awesome Australian product to market Austin style. While Boomerang’s is ‘Australia Inspired’, it is definitely ‘Austin Made’.
Fennell and McInnes discovered the idea for manufacturing the famous Aussie-style pie while in Australia. Fennell was transferred to Sydney, Australia while working at Dell. During his first day in Australia, his wife introduced him to the Aussie pie. McInnes, married to an Australian, was visiting in-laws near Mooloolaba Beach when his mother-in-law brought home a bag of pies from the local pie shop.
“The Aussie pie is like the hot dog or hamburger to Australians” says McInnes. And after being in the food business with Coca-Cola and several other entrepreneurial ventures, he knew the pies would be a huge hit in America.
Fennell opened Boomerang’s restaurant on January 26, 2006, just off of Guadalupe, and shortly thereafter, he and McInnes met. With the idea of bringing a healthy and convenient product to the $2.5 billion hand-held frozen food category, Fennell & McInnes teamed up to conquer the grocery opportunity.
Initially, Boomerang’s was self-funded and the Company got some loans from individuals friendly to the idea. “We definitely did the ‘bootstrap’ gig–that is if you mean working long hours with no pay and running up your personal credit cards. The wives are the real heroes though for tolerating the lean times of our venture.”
As for customers, Boomerang started with a retail location and then targeted several channels including festivals and catering opportunities in Austin. “We knew that the real home for our product was in the grocery store, given that Hot Pockets was sold to Nestle for $2.6 billion in 2002. But to grow the product line and get it on the shelves in the grocery stores, we knew we were going to need capital,” says McInnes.
Boomerang approached the local Angel networks and received a warm reception. “Actually, we were termed the ‘hot deal’ of the summer, and we were honored to get twice as much as we were seeking,” said McInnes.
Currently, Boomerang offers more than 10 flavors of its pies, including chicken, steak, pizza and vegetarian options. Their recipes are chef created and inspired by the tastes of the world with a mission to provide a gourmet alternative to fast food with the same convenience.
Post written by Jason Myers, editor-in-chief of the Texas Entrepreneur Networks