,Australia

Get to know Mark Hawthorne, Guzman y Gomez's CEO for ANZ

Leveraging key partnerships, he says, are part of the next iteration of their long-term strategy.

QSR Media: What previous positions have prepared you for this one and how?
As a 15-year-old flipping burgers in Coffs Harbour, I genuinely appreciate the early introduction to basic social skills, work ethic and humility but also empathy for our crew and franchisees. Never underestimate what experience a part-time job as a teenager can provide you later in life.

I also look back on my time at Boston Market where, working in a smaller organisation taught me to be nimble and a jack of all trades not just an executive at the top dishing out orders. Also, my years of experience managing franchisees as stakeholders at McDonald's cannot be understated.  

QSR Media: What makes you excited about your position?
I’m excited about creating real change and making a difference in the fast food industry. I get most excited working for a brand that people genuinely love. When travelling for work and people stop you and come and say “I love your brand”, that’s the ultimate validation that we’re on the right path.

As CEO, I’m also surrounded by extraordinary talent that I trust and enjoy seeing them develop. I have chosen the GYG management team which has plenty of diversity, balanced between gender, background, experience and a real mix of entrepreneurs and corporate experience so the future of what this team can achieve is what I’m most excited about.

QSR Media: What are your key business philosophies?

  • The right talent will deliver the outcomes;
  • LESS is more – keep the focus clear and simple;
  • Creating a high performance environment.

QSR Media: What goals are you focused on?
My primary goals at present are to maintain brand relevance and as well as achieving our business objectives by converting our strategy into flawless execution. I’m also focussed on keeping our entire GYG team tight at all times, this includes our crew, franchisees, support office and leadership team, it’s imperative to me that we chase the same goals and we have each other’s backs at all times.

QSR Media: What long-term changes are you planning on?
As part of reinventing fast food, my first three years have been about re-pivoting into a fast food brand and the next three is about leading the change. For GYG, our mini’s, fries and drive thrus were about re-pivoting. Now, innovation and our app as well as leveraging key partnerships are the next iteration. Our drone partnership with Project Wing, for example, fosters a culture that makes us a go to partner for innovation.

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