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HUMAN RESOURCES | Staff Reporter, Australia
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Get to know Nishad Alani, the new chief executive officer of Retail Zoo

On innovation, continuous improvement, and collaboration.

QSR Media: What makes you excited about your position?

I go to work every morning energized by the incredible team I work with and am proud of the quality products we serve, how we engage with our customers and the socially responsible and sustainable way in which we operate. I am excited by the opportunity to grow our footprint across Australia and internationally. With our focus on continuous innovation, outstanding customer care, great value and responsible management, Retail Zoo has the potential to be a leader and role model within the food and beverage industry.

QSR Media: What are your key business philosophies?

My business philosophy is centred around two of my favourite quotes which are:

Yesterday's solution will never solve tomorrow's problems

There is no hierarchy to innovation. The sun and the soil collaborate to make flowers

I am a big believer in innovation, continuous improvement and collaboration. I also believe the best ideas come from those closest to the customer (the front line). We can never take our business for granted and will always fight to go that extra bit for each and every one of our customers.

QSR Media: What three goals are you focused on?

Rather than expressing three goals, we are focused on one goal encompassing three very important words:

Profitable, disciplined growth.

We are going to be focused and smart about how we grow and expand Retail Zoo. We plan to employ a multi-pronged approach to growth which includes increasing sales by improving the customer experience and product innovation; employing new store formats; acquiring strategically placed, high growth brands and international expansion of Boost, our flagship brand.

QSR Media: What long-term changes are you planning on?

We have ambitious plans for expansion grounded in our core guiding principle. We strive to ensure that every customer has a positive experience and no one leaves disappointed. I will never compromise on Retail Zoo’s commitment to our customers.

I do however plan to expand our footprint while both enhancing service to our customers and creating new opportunities for our staff and franchisees. In the not so distant future, we plan to have over 750 locations with at least half of these new locations in international markets. We will be investing in mobile technology, digital marketing, customer relationship management and data analysis systems. Enhancing development in our store designs will also be a key priority. We are currently planning to significantly expand our franchise relationships and forge strategic relationships with key suppliers around the world.

QSR Media: What previous positions have prepared you for this one and how?

I have had the good fortune to work in a number of executive roles with talented business leaders around the world. I bring both a deep understanding of trends and customer behaviour in the retail food sector as well as significant experience across multiple business processes to this role.

I started my professional career as a management consultant in a top tier global firm. Here I received a strong grounding in complex problem solving and had the opportunity to work on challenging assignments to make business processes more efficient and operations, marketing, development and supply chain better integrated. I gained the knowledge that any company can be great in one of these functional areas but only the best are able to break down functional silos and drive high performance across the organisation.

I then spent 9 years at Starbucks. I served in a number of different executive roles that spanned supply chain, brand management, digital marketing and customer experience, both at their headquarters in Seattle and across the Asia Pacific region. During this time I was involved in opening new global markets and learned how to mitigate and address challenges related to speed of growth, working with partners and ramping up staff. Perhaps most significantly, I learned to appreciate the importance of innovation and the customer's expectation to consistently receive a high quality product with personalised customer service. In my new role I plan to emphasise a key learning: "standardise the product and personalise the experience”.

Just prior to joining Retail Zoo, I spent five years working with Skylark Group, Japan’s largest restaurant chain which has over 3,000 locations. Here, I had the opportunity to work more directly on restaurant operations, menu development, pricing optimisation, process and planning. Through effective reporting and analysis we were able to better leverage our digital marketing and loyalty programs to significantly improve sales and profitability.

I believe my experiences, together with the passion, insight and experience of our team and board will position Retail Zoo to succeed and I look forward to being part of this exciting journey.

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