Suman (Onehunga)

Welcome back! Today we’re talking to the crew who make the sushi magic happen in Onehunga. Our newest team member is Suman, a dynamic young lady bringing her depth of experiences and passion to our newest shop. What is so interesting about her background? Read on!

Suman is from the high, landlocked plateau of Inner Mongolia. Raised with Mongolian as her mother tongue, she also learned Mandarin from a young age, making her a natural communicator. Her passion for language led her to study at Dalian University of Foreign Languages, hundreds of kms from home. The historic port city of Dalian has deep connections with Japan and Korea, and after graduating with a degree in Japanese, Suman moved to Japan, where she worked and studied for six years. So with such broad experiences across East Asia, why is Suman in Auckland?

“I wanted to improve my English and heard many good things about New Zealand. I came here in 2018 to language school for ten months. The people are just so friendly and relaxed, it’s an amazing place, so I decided to stay. I want to do postgraduate study, but need to boost my IELTS score, so I worked in sales for a couple of years. Then I heard St. Pierre’s are hiring, and jumped at the chance.”

Suman used her communication and analysis skills to research the company, reading on this website about our staff, such as Ning in Hastings and area manager Johnny. It struck her that

“St. Pierre’s has a very diverse workforce. I really like that we give foreigners in NZ a fair chance too. I could see a system to help people grow into assistant managers and managers, which is fantastic. I could also see the company helps people to dream big, and sent in my CV with great hope.”

It didn’t take long for Suman to be hired as part of the founding Onehunga team. And while she’s embracing the work in front of her, she’s also looking ahead other challenges.

I’m very keen to get ahead in the company. I’m inspired by how Rico started as crew a few years back and is now manager of this brand-new shop. With hard work, I can see a clear path to growth. At the same time, I want to learn more about NZ, especially how it works to include its minorities. I did my MA in education sociology, focusing on multiculturalism, and I think comparing East Asian and NZ examples will create positive ideas. In a diverse world, I believe that communication and inclusiveness are the keys to everyone reaching their potential.”

Fluent in three languages and passionate about the power of communication to improve lives, Suman is already a key member of the Onehunga team. We’re very glad she chose to bring her energy and ideas here!

The Onehunga crew – busy as always!

Suman is proud of her achievements so far, and we want to back her ambition! At St. Pierre’s, we have a strong culture of supporting each other as we set challenging goals. Suman shows that a positive attitude takes you to great heights – here’s to everyone across the St. Pierre’s Group aiming high!

Christmas Message to the St. Pierre’s Family

Dear St Pierres Family,

I would like to thank each of you for the fantastic job you have done in St Pierre’s this year.

From left: Nick, Costa, Perry and Mrs. Katsoulis

This year like last year has been full of challenges unlike any we have faced in the last 37 years of St Pierre’s History.

We have faced the second phase of the Pandemic with the Delta Virus, with more lockdowns, and uncertainty of re opening our stores.  In Auckland several of our bigger stores  like those in the big Westfield  Malls such as St Lukes, New Market, Lyn mall, as well as Manakau were closed for over 3 months.  The rest of you were trading contactless, serving customers out onto the street for many months and did an incredible job!

At one time we there was over 200 of you at home for several months while the stores were unable to trade.

Luckily the rest of the country was open with less restrictions and more freedom, and greatly helped our Company at this time. A sincere thanks to you all!

Fortunately during this time the demand for our product has remained very strong. People love St Pierre’s Food and this was shown with the massive queues we had with the stores which were open, and the huge uptake in Uber eats and the success of our online ordering program. Our sales had remained really strong and in fact some of you have achieved some new sales records! Congratulations!

You have done an amazing job in readjusting yourselves to the new reality of business. 2 years ago we did not have Uber, or Online. Your adaptability to change has been truly incredible.

With the opening now of Auckland, and the new traffic system we again see more challenges, and again you have done an amazing job in re adjusting to the new system. Thank you so much!

We will be heading into 2022 soon with new exciting challenges coming up and I am sure we will again face them again courage and success.

Again, thank you to all of you for your amazing work at St Pierres and for helping St Pierres become one of NZs most loved Sushi stores.

We are so proud of you all.  You are really the best!

Costa Nick Foti and I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas Season and the blessings of health happiness and joy in the year ahead.

ALL THE BEST From our families to your families

Perry Katsoulis

See you soon at Profit Sharing !

Title: Onehunga new store opening!

Welcome! This week, St. Pierre’s opened our 5th new shop in 2021 – and this one is very special!
Why? It will host our first-ever sushi drive thru – and more!

The new shop is in Onehunga, a vibrant, historic suburb in southern central Auckland. We have a prominent location on Neilson St, the main road onto the motorway toward the airport and Manukau, just before the on ramp.

Map courtesy of Google Maps

It’s the ideal spot to grab a healthy or hearty meal heading home or to work. The shop is also close to the historic Onehunga main street and train station, so we anticipate plenty of walk-up traffic too.

The drive thru – opening January 6, with the eat-in opening Tuesday 21 December – is hugely significant. It’s definitely the first sushi drive thru in NZ – and maybe even the world! The new concept makes it a focal point for our future growth. The broader Onehunga area is also growing fast, and with no Bento Bowl shop nearby, we’re hoping for big things.

The shop also features plenty of design flourishes. The open, spacious interior and spaced-out tables encourage customers to relax, take their time looking through the menu, and appreciate the beautiful food displays to the fullest. There is plenty of funky art on the walls and table tops, bringing a modern Japanese edge.

Panorama of the expansive interior

The one downer was COVID restrictions meaning we couldn’t do our famous sushi giveaway, with Nick firing up the crowd like he did at Ponsonby. Instead, we offered a wide range of free samples – including super crunchy katsu chicken and mochi desserts – to everyone visiting. Even without the giveaway, the shop was packed. Word had clearly got around!

Many people – including the Fire Service – came in for their first-day sushi fix !

The shop has a fantastic team of around 20 staff, split across sushi and Bento Bowl. The drive thru operation will work across both departments, bringing a unique dynamic to the shop. Speaking of dynamic, the shop has two energetic young managers: Rico in sushi, and TJ in Bento Bowl. They’ve both been looking forward to the new challenge of the bigger, drive thru shop, and it’s TJ’s first time as a manager. Talk about ambition!

Backing the staff are our great support team, including our People Development Manager Yasuko and Bento Bowl department manager Keiko. Area manager Johnny had also been closely involved with the Onehunga opening, and he commented that

“This shop project was a real challenge. It is the first shop opening I am fully in charge of, before I had only helped. There are so many aspects to opening a shop, from big items to fine details, and I have learned so much. But in the end it has gone smoothly, and I’m really grateful to our strong, motivated team here for making a smooth opening possible.”

Finally, Director Perry Katsoulis commented that

“Onehunga is off to a fantastic start! It has been a big project, but it has gone so well. We like to take on ambitious challenges here, but the power of teamwork has carried us through. Customers are enjoying the bright store atmosphere and choice of sushi or hot Bento meals. We’ve had some real local characters in the shop and reacting positively already. We can’t wait to open the drive thru – that’s our next big challenge!

The Onehunga shop will be a real landmark in the Onehunga community – day or night! – as well as a focal shop for the St. Pierre’s Group. Hope to see you there soon!

The new shop looks great at night too!
A new local landmark – day or night!