Why business is like family for this franchisor

By Sarah Stowe | 13 Mar 2017 View comments

Inside Franchise Business: La Porchetta CEO Sara PantaleoFrom non-English speaking immigrant to head of a restaurant franchise chain…what does it take to be a successful female franchisor? We asked Sara Pantaleo, CEO, at La Porchetta, to share her insights.

"When my family migrated to Australia, we spoke no English. My mother was illiterate because she had to work in the fields as a child, but she instilled hard work and perseverance into us and supported us in all our endeavours.

"My goal was to work for a large corporation and I worked for a major bank for 13 years. My career was progressing well, but by the end I felt like a number in the system.

"In 1996, my brother Rocky, asked me to help him set up centralised warehousing for La Porchetta. I thought I was just helping him out and taking a career break, but I quickly grew to love small business. I felt I was making a difference in people’s lives.

"It was great to work in a family business where you felt needed and wanted. I was re-energised.  

"Soon after I had my two beautiful children three years apart and brought them both to work with me for the first 15 months.

"Being a mum in a growing business was challenging. Balancing everything was not always smooth.  

"I’ve learned that being there for your family is the most important thing. My daughter did calisthenics for seven years and I was at all her concerts. My son played soccer and I attended every game. We made sure we ate dinner together at least five days a week in the early years and now we do so at least three times weekly. We share our day and ensure we are in touch with each other.

"I have loved the sense of achievement, making and difference and community in this business.  I now have a team of 19 people who I lead and I do my very best to keep that sense of community with our team and our franchisees and suppliers, while ensuring integrity, care and respect. 

"Everyone in our business counts."

  • Sara Pantaleo is passionate about supporting family businesses and has been appointed Chair of the Victorian Family Business Association State Committee.
  • Love the family feel of this franchise? Find out more about La Porchetta