Welcome to our latest St. Pierre’s partner feature.
Today we’re in Bombay, south of Auckland, visiting Tony, whose passion for food and community has taken him half way around the world!
“Growing up in China, my parents ran a fast-food shop. I was inspired by how they always created nutritious, interesting dishes for their family and community. I really love Asian food – especially Chinese and Japanese – and came to New Zealand ten years ago to broaden my culinary horizons by studying cooking here.”
Tony interned at St. Pierre’s Lunn Avenue while still in school, transferred to Elliot Street as assistant manager for two years, and by his third year was back at Lunn Ave as sushi department manager. After six years, on 3 June 2021 Tony became the partner for the new Bombay shop.
“When I was an intern, I understood quickly that St Pierre’s treats its staff well, offering benefits small companies don’t. That’s why I decided to aim to be a partner early on, making St. Pierre’s where I develop my career. I value staff benefits and a company’s growth potential, and St Pierre’s is a model example of those. Above all, the culture here is warm and welcoming, and full of opportunities.
The journey really has exceeded my expectations. Becoming a partner has significantly increased my income, which gives me confidence I can look after a growing family. My next goal is to run the best partnership shop in NZ – I have tough competition, so it will be a challenge!”
The Bombay shop is in a motorway service centre, on the border of the Auckland and Waikato regions. The huge traffic volumes on State Highway 1 mean many customers are travellers taking a break – but not all.
“A lot of our customers are passing through, but there is a small, tight-knit Bombay community. I’ve been contacting local schools and working to provide them our freshly-made sushi. I’m sure we’ll form a strong relationship.”
“Food is about aroha. Creating food which people love is about looking after people, both the people eating it and the people making it. I often get my staff drinks from the Coffee Club and the dairy next door, and when we’ve had a great sales day, I buy them KFC after work or for lunch. Also, on special occasions like New Year, I organize small team gatherings in local restaurants.”
“I have an international team – my staff are from different countries and cultures. It’s a wonderful team that represents the diversity of New Zealand. Many of my staff are of Māori descent, and I am glad they treat me as whānau. Through meaningful daily interactions with the team and customers, I have realized we share a lot of cultural values. I feel a real connection to NZ and the Bombay locals, and now view NZ as my home.”
Tony is proud of his achievements and the lifestyle he has built. At St. Pierre’s, we’re proud to have amazing people like Tony on our team! We have a strong culture of being “people first”, supporting each other as we set challenging goals. Tony’s philosophy about food and community have taken him far, and we’re sure he will continue to reach new heights! Here’s to everyone across the St. Pierre’s Group aiming high!