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!

Phillip (Rolleston)

Welcome to our latest partner feature!
Today we’re visiting Phillip in Rolleston, a relaxed satellite town just south of Christchurch.

Phillip came to NZ from China 20 years ago, making NZ’s southern city his home.

“I really love the lifestyle here. I’ve been with St. Pierre’s for over eight years, starting around the time my daughter was born. My first five years were at Riccarton, and now nearly four years in Rolleston. Some partners move shops a lot, but I’m happy with just two!”

Phillip in a rare quiet moment at work (photographed before the COVID-19 outbreak)

Even still, Phillip has learned a lot about local customer bases and how to tailor the products his shop makes most.

“Rolleston is growing fast. A lot of people moving here work very hard, so jumbo-sized packs are very popular! And we mostly sell chicken, not so much salmon and tuna. It’s a different market to Christchurch.”

Phillip (second from left) enjoying team building at the July 2021 manager conference

Phillip believes in the power of community engagement and a strong team to build a successful shop.

“Rolleston is growing, but it still has a small-town feel. The schools are well respected and focal points for the community. We work with the schools a lot, supplying sushi vouchers for prizegiving. Associating St. Pierre’s with success creates a positive image in the community.

We also do intro to sushi classes at school. We take fresh ingredients from the shop, and get the kids to try rolling their own. We talk about other sushi like nigiri and how to eat it. Kids love the experience, then bring their parents to the shop. We also have a stall at school fairs – last time we sold out in 30 minutes! We had to make three deliveries.

Getting kids used to sushi helps the shop succeed now, and good memories as kids make them sushi lovers for life. Engaging with schools is a winner for everyone.”

And of course, looking after people also includes the shop staff!

“I want to help our staff get their bonuses, giving them tips what they need to do each day. I encourage staff to learn more skills, organising a pay rise once they prove they’ve learned. Skills lead to confidence leads to motivation.”

“All our team members are locals, and lots are mums with kids. They have great life experience, communication and team work. Some can only do limited hours, but everyone understands each other’s situations, so we cover for each other. Teamwork keeps the shop going.”

“I love to celebrate milestones too. Each year we mark the shop anniversary with free four-piece packs and stickers for the kids, and we give staff chocolates and fruit at Christmas. Staff and customers love little extras.”

Phillip’s team in a rare quiet moment!

Phillip’s unique approach to team building has delivered – shop sales are consistently in the top three nationwide. Phillip is happy with the partnership position, but is still looking ahead.

“The money and work content as partner is great. I love putting time into community engagement and helping our people grow. We have several staff who are very keen to move up, and my challenge is training them to be future managers and partners. The company is growing fast and I’d love to see them succeed!”

Part of success is having lots of stock ready to go. Phillip’s customers are always spoiled for choice!

Phillip is justifiably proud of his many achievements. At St. Pierre’s, we’re proud to have amazing people like him! We have a strong “people first” culture, supporting each other as we set challenging goals. Phillip’s unique approach to management which has taken him far – here’s to everyone across the St. Pierre’s Group aiming high!

Yohanes (Rotorua)

Welcome to our latest St. Pierre’s partner feature!
Today we’re in Rotorua, visiting Yohanes. Originally from bustling Indonesia, Yohanes loves the laid-back lifestyle in NZ’s geothermal capital.

Yohanes came to NZ in 2006, to study European cooking.

“I’ve always loved food. While training to be a chef, I worked at some other sushi shops. Then I joined St. Pierre’s in May 2012, and things went so well. There’s so much scope for growth. I started out in Symonds Street, moved to St Lukes and Lynn Mall, then became manager at Glen Innes. We have such diverse customer bases around Auckland, it’s just amazing. We can learn so much from our customers.”

At the same time, Yohanes had a growing family, and providing for them was also on his mind.

Yohanes celebrating a birthday with his family

“I originally came to NZ because my aunt lived here and I heard good things about the lifestyle. I met my wife at the Auckland Indonesian church in 2011, and we now have four kids. Family is really important to me, and I was determined that my career moves work for them too.”

When a partnership opportunity arose in 2017, Yohanes was ready!

“The St. Pierre’s profit sharing and bonus plans were nice extras for my family. I had heard about the partnership programme from my previous manager, looked into it, decided I wanted to commit, and set myself a target of becoming a partner. The new shop being in such a beautiful area made the opportunity even better!”

Yohanes and family enjoying the fresh Rotorua air

After moving to Rotorua, Yohanes could buy a nice house for his family, and soon put down roots in the local community.

“Education is really important here, and the local schools are well respected. My kids love their school, and education is good for the shop too. We work with school lunch providers, supplying sushi of the day vouchers for school prizegiving. The principals usually give voucher awards every two weeks, and post pictures on the school Facebook page. The students are proud to bring in their vouchers, and our staff respond with praise and encouragement.”

Just one example of a community support initiative with Ka Pai Kai

In such a tight-knit community, these initiatives benefit everyone.

“In Rotorua, word of mouth is powerful promotion. Associating St. Pierre’s with success creates a positive image which the students love and helps the shop too. I’m very grateful for HQ support with the voucher programme.”

A relaxed moment after work

And of course, looking after people includes the shop staff!

“I want to help all our staff get their bonuses. Each week, I tell them in advance what the weekly target for is. We talk about what creates success – efficient production, great service, all the little things which make customers happy.”

Yohanes celebrating success with some of his talented team

“And our staff all love Starbucks, but it’s a bit far to walk. On busy days I go grab frappés in summer and hot coffees in winter. It does get chilly here, and a mocha goes down great!”

Yohanes is justifiably proud of his many achievements. 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. Yohanes shows how far the right attitude can take you, and we’re sure he will continue to reach new heights! Here’s to everyone across the St. Pierre’s Group aiming high!