A North Shore baker wants to resurrect Georgie Pie and is even talking about going to court to make it happen.
It has been a decade since the well known Kiwi pie became high street history, and Bakers Harvest owner Martin Gummer believes the demand is there to breathe new life into the brand that once sold 700,000 a week.
"I don't think we'd aspire to the 700,000 a week but it could conceivably easily be 10,000 or 20,000 a week."
He said a Facebook campaign to bring back Georgie Pie had about 14,000 members.
"It was a distinctive style of pie both in terms of its flavour but also particularly in its appearance and I think it's part of Kiwiana."
But fast food giant McDonald's is standing in his way.
McDonald's bought Georgie Pie in 1996 from Progressive Enterprises. It was more interested in the real estate but as a condition of the deal also bought the assets, including equipment and intellectual property rights.
McDonald's NZ managing director Mark Hawthorne said Progressive planned to close the business. "So the economic model just wasn't feasible."
Progressive continued to operate Georgie Pie under McDonald's' ownership until it closed in 1999, and McDonald's still holds all the intellectual property and trade marks.
Glenfield-based Bakers Harvest employs about 30 staff and supplies products to about 200 wholesale customers in Auckland. Gummer said he could recreate the recipes and in December sent McDonald's a proposal, including licensing and paying a royalty for the trademark.
However he had had no formal response.
"We'd even be prepared to covenant that we wouldn't set up a dedicated fast food restaurant of the old style."
Gummer said he had offered to make the pies available to McDonald's and to develop a healthy product.
"They haven't used it for 10 years so that could put them in some difficulty if they wish to hang on to it," he said. "If I end up having to take them on in court, which is a distinct possibility ... we may simply be able to get their continued ownership of the brands struck down."
Hawthorne said McDonald's had legal advice that its trademarks were protected.
"We do have a genuine desire to do something with the equity in the brand," he said. "It could potentially be something like Georgie Pies through our McCafes sometime down the track."
McDonald's' first preference was to use its existing suppliers, he said.
"We're in discussion with suppliers at the moment so I think a lot of it depends on the suppliers' ability to meet our requirements and if we can get over that hurdle then we might see something happen, I'd say probably sometime early next year if we do anything at all."
Hawthorne said he had contacted Gummer and that McDonald's was concerned about being forced into a quick decision.
"But what I'd ask them is to respect our internal preference to work with our existing McDonald's suppliers and for them to be patient for that process to be done. When and if that process is exhausted we'll definitely be coming and talking to people who have approached us."By Owen Hembry Email Owen