Tony (Bombay)

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.

Tony in a rare quiet moment on opening day!

“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.”

Tony with his team on opening day

  “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.”

Tony enjoying a peaceful moment at Tāpapakanga Regional Park, Firth of Thames

“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!

Papamoa new shop opening!

Welcome back! Last Thursday 31st March, St. Pierre’s did something we’ve never done before – opened two shops on the same day! One was reopening Symonds Street, and the other was the brand-new Papamoa shop. Read on to find out more!

Partner managers Seak and Tee excited about opening day!
Area manager Lili removing the window coverings. Almost opening time!

Papamoa is on the sunny Bay of Plenty coast, east of downtown Tauranga. It’s a popular area both for summer holidays and to live, so we were keen to be involved. Our new shop is centrally located, just by the community centre, local doctors, supermarket and other busy destinations.

All ready to go!

The shop design puts a new spin on our current design language to suit the area and site layout, with bright geometric wall patterns and oversized lightshades providing colour. The chunky furniture against black walls is another highlight, all together making the shop bright yet cosy, relaxing and inviting to everyone, especially families with kids.

The shop and staff ready to go!
Partner Manager Tee greeting first-time customers. Papamoa shop has been buzzing from day one!

Fly through of the shop – plenty of fresh food waiting for hungry customers!

Partner Managers Seak and Tee were overjoyed on opening, saying that

“We’ve both been with the company for some years, but this is a massive step up. Opening a new shop – rather than joining an existing one – has been such a challenge. We couldn’t have done it without the support of the head office staff, especially area manager Lili, our new Papamoa team, and nearby partners such as Ivy, Joanne and Yohanes. In particular, Ivy and Joanne put a lot of time into training our new staff before opening.

So many details go into great customer experience, but we’re all committed to delivering great products and service from day one. Our aim is to create a fun workplace which brings smiles to staff and customers, a shop that we and the whole company are proud of. Finally, we’re moving here as a family, so we’re excited to learn more about the community and how we can contribute to it.” 

Welcoming our first curious customers!
The hat display is a tradition of St. Pierre’s shop openings

Lili commented that

“Seak and Tee have run their own café as well as managed different departments at St. Pierre’s, so they definitely are experienced. However, running a sushi department in a new city will be a big challenge! As well as building a high-performing team, partners also have to develop links with their community to build the business. This is a critical part of our 7 Steps to Partnership pathway. Tee and Seak will need to spend a lot of time getting to know schools and community groups, working on promotional channels, etc., while still maintaining the company‘s reputation and delivering customer satisfaction.

Finally, I hope they can inspire and develop their team members to grow in their career at St. Pierre’s. It’s a big job, but I’m here to support them, and they’ve made a great start! I wish them all the best with their new city and lifestyle.”

Speaking of support, Rotorua partner Yohanes came to help out!

Tee sorting the recycling. Successful shop partners are hands-on all the time!

Finally, Director Perry Katsoulis commented

“Congratulations to our new trial partners Tee and Seak! They are full of energy, passion and enthusiasm, and I know they are ready to become St. Pierre’s Partners! I and the other directors wish you the very best of luck in your future in Papamoa. I imagine that moving your children from Auckland and starting a new life and a business is a huge step to take, but the St. Pierre’s family is here to help. Yohanes came from Rotorua and Ivy and Joanne from Tauranga for opening day, and we’ll always be here for you.

Papamoa is an important shop for us, as it’s a popular lifestyle choice and a growing market. Who wouldn’t want to live in a beautiful Bay of Plenty beach resort? I hope that Tee & Seak love the lifestyle here too.”

Director Perry firing up the crowd
Perry describing what makes our sushi so good!
Perry, Seak and Tee, and Director Nick all smiles for a successful opening!

The new shop was busy on opening day and has been even more so in the days that followed. Customers who themselves relocated to Papamoa were happy to see their favourite sushi available locally, and many locals were keen to see what the fuss was about. Feedback was positive, with words like “delicious,” “I see why it’s so popular!,” “kid friendly,” and “welcoming” repeated over and over. It’s so far so good in Papamoa, making all the hard work by many staff worthwhile.

We believe that the Papamoa shop will soon be a landmark in this relaxed beachside area, and by opening on the same day as Symonds Street, it’s a special milestone for the company as well. If you’re visiting Papamoa or just passing through, do stop by and see Seak and Tee – see you there soon!