Merry Christmas from the Directors!

To our St Pierre’s family, 

I would like to thank you all for the amazing job and your dedication and commitment to our Company this year.

A recent (?) Katsoulis family photo

What a year! It’s been a year full of challenges, and I think you have met them all very successfully and with strength and courage! 

Like nearly all New Zealand companies in a Covid era we faced short staffing and people shortages like we have never seen  in our 38 years in business, with toughest in Queenstown and Central Auckland.

With the borders closed to immigration, it’s been nearly impossible to hire staff and also for many of you to go home and visit your loved ones in China and other places where restrictions on travel have been in place.

However I believe these challenges have made us a more flexible and stronger company with a greater will to be more experimental and find ways to fill our needs. 

Whether it meant employ more part-time people, students, or other, we met the challenge and have reached the end of the year with the strongest sales we have had in the history of the company. The strong high sales have led to record bonuses and dividends achieved ! 


Our amazing people Area Managers, Managers, support people, store Managers, Partners and store teams have pulled together to keep our stores open and trading for business and keep our customers happy, when many of our competitors and other stores had to stay closed often for days or weeks on end.

Congratulations again! 

At the same time several new stores were opened in Nelson, Karaka, Papamoa, and Ashburton as well as a new Head Office for the Company, which will serve our needs for many years to come… 

Our famous sushi giveaway on Ashburton opening day!

Truly an amazing achievement!

We re started our Awards Evenings again nationwide after a 2 year absence, and had 3 very successful mini conferences all live and which were attended by hundreds of you ! 

 Well done! It was so much fun to get together again! 

I understand that there have been many very stressful times for many of you, and I would like to appreciate you very much for all the effort and hard work that you have put into your work this year.

We have also been so fortunate also that the demand for our food has been strong, enabling us to have stronger sales than ever, proving that St. Pierres has a very important place in the NZ food market. 

However nothing could be achieved without your hard work effort and commitment.

Whether you are  a part-time worker full-time store worker, manager, assistant manager, partner, or work in our head office support team you are all truly appreciated!

We really appreciate your continued hard work, enthusiasm , and motivation.

You truly are the best!

Profit sharing 

Over the holiday break will be working on our profit sharing program and very early in the New Year will be announcing the dates for a profit during meetings. I look forward to seeing you all there! This time it will be a live venue as we have always had in the past and should be fun! 

Finally I would like to wish you and your families all the very best for Christmas, and let’s work together to make 2023 another excellent year ! 

Many thanks again and warm regards to all of you! 


Partner Feature: Yoshi (Ashburton)

Welcome to our latest St. Pierre’s partner feature!

Today we’re in Ashburton, south of Christchurch, visiting Yoshi. He’s the partner of the new shop there, but he has a cool back story of his own! Originally from Japan’s ancient imperial capital of Kyōto, an iconic food culture destination, Yoshi has been in NZ for 18 years.

“I love the South Island and really feel at home in Canterbury. People here are so relaxed and friendly, and really appreciate new and interesting food experiences. I’ve had a great journey through food in NZ, and I’m happy to have met so many great people and brought happiness to them through food.”

Yoshi has extensive hospitality experience, such as in cafés, running his own Japanese restaurant, and as a hotel chef in Christchurch.

During that time, he worked for Bento Bowl for two years, but had to leave because of visa issues. He later moved to Invercargill and reconnected with us.

“I worked one day per week at St. Pierre’s Invercargill for about a year. Nan really sold me on the partnership programme, and I set a new goal of becoming a store partner. I was assistant manager for six months and then moved back to Christchurch to become Blenheim Road manager and prove I was ready to be a partner. I believe that in business you need to be like a grasshopper – ready to move quickly when you get the chance!”

Family was also a big driver of Yoshi’s partnership ambition.

“I’m married with an eight-year-old daughter and three-year-old son. The kids aren’t babies any more so it’s a good time to make a move! But at the same time, I just turned 50 so have been looking for new opportunities. I love the food industry, but wanted more of a management role, which a St. Pierre’s partnership provided.”

Thinking back, there was one episode in particular that planted the seed of his partnership ambitions.

“I was really sad when I had to leave Bento Bowl, but the directors made sure I wasn’t forgotten. Nick visited the shop on my last day and gave me a favourite book of his about leadership, and asked if I’d be interested in a partnership in the future. Perry called me that same day to wish me the best, even though I was one of 600 staff. And Costa came to visit at my Japanese restaurant soon after to see how I was doing. It left such a strong, positive impression that the company cared about me and wanted me back.”

Yoshi applies the same approach of inclusivity and giving back in his shop.

“Years later, my partnership ambition has come true in Ashburton, and I make sure to share that same care with my staff. The shop is so busy, but I try to create little moments to celebrate together. For our one-month anniversary after opening, I brought in a big tray of sweet and savoury bites from Coupland’s Bakery next door. It’s an iconic South Island company and our staff all love their treats! That and shouting coffee or cakes for break time on really busy days. We have such a great team, and I want them to feel the same positive energy I got from my St. Pierre’s managers.”

Outside work, Yoshi loves taking on home renovation challenges!

“A big tree in our back yard was damaged in a storm and we had to take it down. At the same time, the kids wanted a playground to invite their friends over to, so we came up with a way of upcycling the stump and branches into an adventure play area. They got their fun space, and then I got to work on mine!”

What space would that be? Well, every great artist needs a studio, and Yoshi now has one at home too!

Yoshi is proud of his achievements and the lifestyle he has built for his family. At St. Pierre’s, we’re proud to have amazing people like him on our team! We have a strong culture of being “people first”, supporting each other as we set challenging goals. Yoshi’s passion for food, family 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!

Auckland manager’s conference

Welcome! After a tumultuous year, it has been great for shop and head office staff to all reconnect with each other. After the Auckland awards party on 7 November, another positive sign was gathering with our managers the following day.

Held on Tuesday 7 November at the beautiful Five Knots waterfront conference venue, this intensive session was all about sharing experiences and opinions, reaffirming company principles and values, as well as creating new ideas to lead the business forward.

 Attendees focused and engaged

Despite all the challenges we face, partners and managers from as far away as Whangārei, Tauranga, Rotorua and New Plymouth gathered to reconnect and engage… and what a dynamic day it was!

The morning session featured an introduction of our top-performing managers and discussion of how they have led their team to success, such as Tal at Auckland Airport and Seak in Papamoa.

Plenty of sharing ideas and thinking about how to improve leadership and store operations!

The morning continued with new developments in the partnership programme and profit-sharing system, two major planks of the St. Pierre’s Way.

The conference was also an opportunity to recognise more of our champions, such as the teams who deliver the best quality products day in, day out.

Rotorua won the Bento Bowl Quality Award, with Westfield Manukau runner-up.
Yunita (second from left) and Karen (second from right) accept the awards on behalf of their teams, with their area managers Lili (far left) and Yovina (far right)

The afternoon session included updates from selected head office departments, including General Manager of Property Oliver Shaw, who introduced the new head office project. This has been a huge team effort involving Property, Facilities, and everyone in head office – well done for making it happen!

But it wasn’t all serious. The highlight of the afternoon was motivational speaker Denis Gianoutsos from the acclaimed Leadership Is Changing podcast. He challenged attendees to think about what leadership means and how our actions as leaders can inspire and motivate our team members. It was far from a lazy afternoon!

The day concluded with dinner and presentation of shop sales awards. With a backdrop of spectacular views of Rangitoto Island and the broader Hauraki Gulf, Head of HR Zoe Katsoulis recognised our most improved and highest overall turnover shops, including Rotorua (led by partner Yohanes), New Plymouth (led by new partner Sooin) and Invercargill (led by partnership team Nan and Art). These three shops achieved both large absolute and percentage sales increases – amazing!

Above all, it was a great day to reconnect with old friends and reaffirm the values we all share as St. Pierre’s leaders. Thanks to all our upper North Island managers for coming – see you all again soon!