Innovation in HR pays off at Zambrero

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How has Mexican restaurant franchise Zambrero positioned itself as an employer of choice? 

Its initiatives include motivational policies such as an extra week’s leave for executives to undertake voluntary work, and the recent restaurant staff incentive to visit Vietnam and observe first-hand how the humanitarian franchise pursues its mission to end world hunger.

In the few years it has been in business, Zambrero has moved from an embryonic HR program to developing a strategy and department. In response, attrition rates have declined markedly and hundreds of new staff have joined the fast food chain, and stayed.

Much of its human resources success is credit to its young HR manager Bianca Azzopardi, just named the Australian HR Manager of the Year.

Azzopardi explains “I developed an immense passion for The Sam Prince Group, of which Zambrero is the main business, while studying it for my UTS Bachelor of Business. In 2013 I approached Dr Prince for an internship in my final semester.  I was then offered a full time position as the HR Assistant and found myself acting HR manager six months later. 

“After three months of rapid and exponential learning I created a complete HR strategy plan for the group, presented it to Dr Prince and was offered the HR manager role in June 2014.”  

Azzopardi has championed a 'next practice' rather than 'best practice' HR philosophy with ideas like self-paced video inductions for recruits rather than formal, document-led sessions. She has led the recruitment of 20 support office roles to aid Zambrero’s rapid expansion from 48 to 89 restaurants in the past year, introduced engaging feedback and education channels via Zambrero’s ‘ezone’ intranet, and reduced vacancy fill times from three months to one month.

“The objective of Zambrero is not only growth but to be a market leader in the quick service restaurant industry and one of our most valuable assets is people who live and breathe our company values,” says general manager Karim Messih. “Bianca is totally focused on the way we train, develop and grow staff to creative a highly effective team, the staff culture now is phenomenal and can be accredited to her hard work.” 

Franchise recruitment manager Melissa Geer agrees.

“What Bianca has done for Zambrero and our organisational culture in a relatively short period is amazing and is testament to her ability, hard work, passion for the business and dedication to each and every person in it."


Sarah Stowe

Sarah Stowe heads up the editorial in the Inside Franchise Business group at Octomedia. Sarah is a hands-on editor who has worked in consumer and B2B titles in UK and Australia and she has been editor of the View More...
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