Daily Archives: July 19, 2016

EAGLE Boys Pizza has collapsed into voluntary administration.


The nation’s third-largest pizza chain behind Domino’s and Pizza Hut confirmed the news in a statement on its website on Friday afternoon.

“The Eagle Boys Dial-a-Pizza Pty Ltd (Eagle Boys) Board of Directors confirm the Australian Head Franchisor has been placed in Voluntary Administration as of Thursday evening 14 July 2016,” the statement said.

“This does not extend to franchisees — all Eagle Boys stores remain under the control of individual franchisees and will continue to operate normally.”

Administrators SV Partners have taken control of the day-to-day running on the business and will attempt to negotiate a sale.

“The administrators are in the process of identifying restructuring measures,” it said.

“Eagle Boys stores across Australia will continue to trade during this process. For Eagle Boys customers, franchisees, employees and suppliers it’s ‘business as usual’ while the administrators’ review is underway.

“The Eagle Boys national franchise remains on the market for sale.

“The Eagle Boys management team is looking forward to the prospect of growing the brand under new ownership and would like to thank Eagle Boys customers, franchisees and team members for their ongoing support during this time.”

The pizza chain has faced significant difficulties over the past five years. In 2014-15, nearly half of its stores closed down, dragging its market share from its estimated peak of 8.1 per cent in 2013-14 with 340 stores to 4.6 per cent in 2016-17, according to IBISWorld.

Domino’s has about 25 per cent market share of the $3.7 billion industry, with Pizza Hut lagging behind at 10.7 per cent.

Eagle Boys, caught in the middle of an aggressive price war between Domino’s and Pizza Hut, found itself unable to pay its debts. Fairfax last year reported that 30 Eagle Boys franchisees were considering taking legal action against head office.

Customer food traffic data by market research firm NPD showed Domino’s increased its traffic by 14 per cent last year, while visits to Pizza Hut collapsed 15 per cent, and Eagle Boys lost 7 per cent.

IBISWorld industry analyst Andrew Ledovskikh said the huge success of Domino’s versus its competitors highlighted how stores that failed to adapt to changing consumer preferences would suffer.

“Changing consumer trends have favoured premium and healthy food produce in recent years, to the detriment of traditional fast food outlets,” he wrote on Tuesday.

“This trend has played out in the pizza restaurant and takeaway industry, as Pizza Hut has struggled to maintain growth as smaller pizza store operators have increasingly offered premium produce. However, Domino’s Pizza has bucked this trend by making use of its extensive store network to focus on convenience.

“Instead of attempting to compete with premium pizza stores or add healthy options to its menu, the company has expanded its store network, which has grown by over 100 stores in the past five years, and focused on technology-related convenience.

“For example, Domino’s implemented an SMS ordering system and a 20-minute delivery guarantee in 2015, and trialled a 10-minute delivery guarantee in New Farm, Brisbane, in the same year.”

He added that the rise of online ordering platforms such as DeliveryHero, Menulog, Foodora and Deliveroo had allowed smaller restaurant and takeaway businesses to access a wider customer base and more effectively compete with larger food brands.

“However, these ordering platforms usually charge a percentage of the transaction as a fee to the restaurant operators, which can reduce profit margins for companies that use these services,” Mr Ledovskikh wrote.


A Greek on the Clinton ticket?


Hillary Clinton’s campaign is currently vetting retired Admiral James Stavridis as potential vice-president candidate

It’s been almost 30 years since a Greek name appeared in association with the higher ranks of American politics. Then it was Michael Dukakis, who lost the 1988 presidential elections to George H. W. Bush. Now it’s James Stavridis, who is said to have been vetted by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign to be her running mate, as a candidate for vice president of the United States.

The news was broken by a handful of major news organisations, among them The New York Times and NBC News, claiming sources inside the Clinton campaign confirmed Stavridis’ name as a potential vice president.

According to The New York Times, “sources close to Secretary Clinton say she was always likely to have someone with military experience on her vice-presidential shortlist, and Mr Stavridis […] fits the description. James Stavridis is a retired four-star US Navy admiral who served as the 15th Commander, US European Command and NATO’s 16th Supreme Allied Commander Europe. In that role he oversaw operations in the Middle East — Afghanistan, Libya and Syria — as well as in the Balkans and piracy off the coast of Africa. He retired from the Navy in 2013 after 30 years of service; following that, he became Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, the oldest school in the United States dedicated solely to graduate studies in international affairs. Stavridis himself earned a PhD and Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of International Relations in 1984, where he won the Gullion Prize”.

If he gets his name on the Clinton ticket, James Stavridis would be the first naval officer to ride to the highest offices in the US, but also the first Greek American since Dukakis to seek such an office. If elected, he’d be the first Greek American VP since Spiro Agnew, who served under the Nixon presidency (1969-1973).

Born in 1955 in West Palm Beach, Florida, he is the son of Shirley Schaffer and P. George Zafiris Stavridis. His grandparents were Pontian Greeks, raised in northeastern Anatolia, who emigrated to the United States.

Stavridis himself offers a more detailed account of his Greek refugee origins in his 2008 book Destroyer Captain: Lessons of a First Command.

“In the early 1920s, my grandfather, a short, stocky Greek schoolteacher named Dimitrios Stavridis, was expelled from Turkey as part of ‘ethnic cleansing’ (read pogrom) directed against Greeks living in the remains of the Ottoman Empire. He barely escaped with his life in a small boat crossing the Aegean Sea to Athens and thence to Ellis Island. His brother was not so lucky and was killed by the Turks as part of the violence directed at the Greek minority,” he wrote.

Further in the book, he describes a NATO exercise off the coast of modern Turkey as the “most amazing historical irony [he] could imagine,” which prompted him to write of his grandfather: “His grandson, who speaks barely a few words of Greek, returns in command of a billion-dollar destroyer to the very city – Smyrna, now called İzmir – from which he sailed in a refugee craft all those years ago.”

source:Neos Kosmos

Remos to sing for the elite


The singer’s annual performance in Mykonos’ lush seaside restaurant ‘Nammos’ sparked controversy, the moment the ticket prices were revealed

How much would you pay to see Antonis Remos? Apparently, the answer depends on the location. Tickets to his recent Melbourne show sold at $69, $89, $99 and $110. But in order to see him perform at Nammos, the famously lush seaside restaurant in Mykonos, one should expect to fork out at least €500 ($729). Granted, the price includes a five-course meal (crab salad, prawn tempura, rib-eye steak, dessert), a bottle of champagne and a 1.5lt bottle of Rose Wine. For double the price (i.e. €1000/ $1460), there’s a 3lt. bottle of wine on offer for the 10-party company – because, it has to be noted that these two options are not tailored per person, but per table, accomodating up to ten patrons, so there are parties that will be charged either €500 or  €1000, regardless of how many will be actually sitting on the table and sharing the bill. It should also be noted that the entertainment is not limited to the popular Greek singer, as the event, which will take place on Thursday 28 July, features another act billed along; world music perennial favourites Gipsy Kings, whose songs “Bamboleo”, “Djobi Djoba” and their cover of “Volare” were very popular in Greece – in the late 1980s.  

Even so, this price is far from seeming even remotely close to what one would think as “value for money”. But this does not preoccupy the patrons of Nammos, who are flocking to see Remos live in what is now an annual event. The concert is tailored to the tastes and habits of a small elite of Greek and international businessmen, celebrities and socialites, notoriously spending as though things are “business as usual” in Greece. Past events were reported as being poor excuses of tasteless extravagance, with drunk patrons engaging in food wars – with thousand dollar worth of lobster as ammunition.


If such behaviour is seen as a hubris in a country where 40% of the population lives in poverty and in which one in two young people have no prospect of finding employment, some argue that in a free country and in a free economy, people can spend their money as they please, provided they pay their taxes. But it has been reported that this same elite that glaringly participates in these events, comprises of infamous tax-avoiders and businessmen who have declared bankruptcy, all the while ensuring their personal fortunes in tax havens around the world. And it was Antonis Remos himself who added insult to injury, when in 2014, while performing for the same crowd at the same place, he seized the opportunity to make a speech against the ‘foreign-inflicted austerity’ that has crippled Greece. Who knows what he has to say this time round. 

source:Neos Kosmos

Disastrous Battle of Fromelles remembered


Barbara Martin says her father didn’t talk about the Great War and it was only by reading his letters after he died that she realised the horrific experience he went through.

That included surviving the disastrous Australian action at Fromelles on July 19, 1916 – the worst day in Australian military history.

The 82-year-old Ms Martin was at the Pheasant Wood War Cemetery in the northern French village on Monday on the eve of a commemorative service marking the centenary of the 14-hour battle that cost more than 1900 Australian lives.

It was the first major action involving Australian troops on the Western Front in World War I and the Australian death toll was almost a quarter of that lost over eight months at Gallipoli.

Ms Martin, from Camberwell in Victoria, said it really hit home when she walked the ground where her father fought and was injured during the Australian offensive against well-prepared German defenders.

Her father lost an arm in later fighting and after he died in 1978 at the age of 88 the family found a letter to his brother describing the battle at Fromelles and instructing him not to show it to their mother.

“It was a very graphic letter of what happened, the slaughter that occurred,” Ms Martin told AAP.

“He described it with great feeling, the men who were coming back crying for their mothers.

“He said physical wounds will heal but these wounds won’t.”

She said she hadn’t realised how much empathy and understanding he had, given that the war appeared to have added “a bit of hardness and lack of emotion” to him.

At Fromelles, Australian troops advancing against experienced German troops alerted to the attack were cut to pieces by shellfire and mowed down by machine-gun fire, with no real gains made.

The Pheasant Wood cemetery was the first created by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission since World War II after a graveyard of 250 mainly Australian troops was discovered in the area in 2009-10 and their remains recovered and reburied.

Of those, the remains of 149 Australian soldiers have been identified thanks to personal items found and DNA testing involving living relatives.

Tuesday’s commemorative event will include the rededication of six headstones at the cemetery following the latest identifications.

Commission spokesman Peter Francis was involved in the recovery and told AAP that as archaeologists carefully removed the bodies it was clear they had been carefully buried by the Germans.

“They hadn’t been thrown into these graves, they’d been buried by their German foes side by side, certainly with some reverence.

“It was something that really touched me, it broke down the statistics of the battle and gave it a human face.”

Mr Francis said the artefacts recovered during the excavation included personal items such as good-luck charms and French phrase books including such terms as ‘Don’t shoot, I’m an Australian”.

“One thing that had us all in tears was a return train ticket, which one soldier tucked into the rubber bit of his gas mask.

“It was a return ticket from Fremantle to Perth and of course that young man never got to use that ticket.”