The BRW Rich 200 shows pizza will make you richer than burgers

Angus Kidman 27 May 2016

HungryJacks_Shutterstock

The list of Australia's wealthiest people contains some surprising lessons about fast food.

The annual BRW Rich 200 list, which attempts to identify the richest people in Australia based on their current net wealth, is out today. (Oddly, BRW itself no longer exists as a magazine, so the print edition is an insert in today's AFR.)

Top of the list for the first time is Meriton property billionaire Harry Triguboff, whose estimated worth is a cool $10.62 billion. There's lots of money in property: 54 of the top 200 made the majority of their wealth through shrewd real estate investments.

But my favourite factoid comes from further down the list at #24, where Jack Cowin resides with a still-far-from-shabby $1.81 billion (up from $1.24 billion the previous year). Cowin is a fast food billionaire best known for the Hungry Jack's chain, which effectively took its name from him.

Hungry Jack's was licensed from Burger King US, but the chain couldn't be called that back in 1971 because an Adelaide store already had the Burger King trademark. That trademark eventually lapsed in 1996 and there was a legal battle between Burger King US and Hungry Jack's, but eventually all was resolved, Hungry Jack's retained the master franchise for Australia and the Whoppers continued to flow.

But Cowin happily plays across the fast food market. The money to found Hungry Jack's came from a successful KFC store which he was a part-owner of. And these days, it seems the biggest source of his wealth isn't burgers (despite tomorrow being National Burger Day), but the Domino's pizza chain.

Cowin has a 26% stake in Domino's, which dates back to 1986 when he invested $400,000 in the chain. So successful has Domino's become, thanks largely to shrewd investments in ordering technology and a fiercely competitive pricing strategy, that the Rich List team estimate that his stake in Domino's now accounts for close to half of his total net worth. From $400,000 to $900 million is a very impressive improvement.

So the simple lesson there is that right now there's more money in pizzas than in burgers. But the broader lesson for the 24 million of us who aren't on the Rich 200 is this: diversify your investments.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

Picture: TK Kurikawa / Shutterstock.com

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