EXECUTIVE INSIGHTS | Staff Reporter, Australia

Get to know Matt Fickling, the CEO of Huxtaburger

On innovation, discipline, and being the top choice.

QSR Media: What makes you excited about your position?

The opportunity to lead such an amazing, talented, engaged and passionate group of people. From our front line team to our Board of Directors, our team is either young or young at heart. The energy in our support office and our stores is what drives me every single day. I am not only excited about taking Melbourne's best burgers to the world, but also about sharing what the Huxtalife is all about with the rest of the country. Our brand focus is simple, to champion the Huxtalife, to own taste and to advocate that the world should be all inclusive.

QSR Media: What are your key business philosophies?

The brand is everything, and everything is the brand.

Love people - both your team and your customers.

Approach all situations with two ears and one mouth.

Successful organisations are made up of two things – innovation and discipline.

QSR Media: What three goals are you focused on?

Be the first choice for franchisees – to achieve disciplined and responsible growth across our company and franchise network.

Be the first choice for customers – to own taste and truly align with the communities in which we operate.

Be the first choice for crew members – to develop our team to become the best food retailers in Australia.

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

There have been massive changes at the Hux Group over the last 18 months. This time period has been one of consolidation and road mapping improvements in every area of our business.

Change has been seen in a complete transformation of our entire internal and external supply chain, including development of a three pillared brand strategy and an overall brand refresh – including changes to stores, packaging, digital assets, brand tone, language, logo, uniforms and the overall look and feel.

There's also been a renewed focus on innovation, NPD and menu offering, along with a massive organisational restructure so that we can support the scale and growth of our network. We have also implemented a 12 month franchise development program and strategy, along with the creation of a robust and improved operations manual for better ways of working, and the review of our people practices.

Long term changes will be to improve on these while never being complacent. The biggest changes will be to our network growth of 50 locations within 5 years across Australia.

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

Perth born, I have had a very rewarding career in the lead up to my appointment as CEO of Hux Group. I have had experience across multi-site retail businesses, with exposure to currency exchange, supermarkets, cafe-bakery brands and food retail categories.

I have a massive passion for the retail industry, previously running a family food retail business, providing training and operations support on a consultancy basis to a franchise organisation and leading a multi-million dollar division and 15-store network in a sales and operations leadership role for Travelex in Western Australia.

Initially joining Huxtaburger in an operations and people role and quickly being able to branch out into other areas of my past experience, I led the brand as Group General Manager since early 2016. I am very humbled and appreciative of the support of my board of directors in this appointment to CEO to reflect and mark the transformation of Huxta from a single unit destination model to a multisite food franchise brand poised for national growth.

More so than previous positions, what has prepared me most for all the new roles I have entered into is the strong mentors and people I have had the pleasure of working with over the years. In particular, my father Glen, who still questions, pushes, challenges and councils me frequently. He has certainly had the biggest influence on any success or progression I have been able to achieve.

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