Zambrero franchisee family success

From Zambrero franchisee to family fortune: how success sparked next-gen wealth and ownership

Sarah Stowe

Cathie Molloy knew she wanted to buy a Zambrero franchise even before she had tried the food! 

“My husband started managing building certification for Zambrero as an independent contractor and was really impressed with the business model,” says Cathie. “I had taken time out from working to recover from an operation and was looking for something new. 

“We thought a Zambrero restaurant would be a great idea. The kids encouraged us too, they loved Zambrero,” says the former bookkeeper. “What got me over the edge was the Plate 4 Plate initiative.” 

This humanitarian enterprise means that every time a customer buys a regular or big burrito, bowl, or retail item at Zambrero, the business donates a meal to someone in need.  

“That is why we call Zambrero – Feel Good Mex! There is a real feel good factor to this,” says Cathie. 

Mexican with a feel good, family vibe  

“The food is healthy; I think that is important. Our customers come because we’re quick, we serve fresh food, prepared daily on site. It looks vibrant.” 

The latest addition to the family-friendly food offering is a children’s menu, putting mini meals on the table, and adding to that Zam Fam feel. 

Cathie loves the life-affirming spirit of the brand, the healthy food, and the potential to secure a good future for her family. 

Leadership, hard work and dedication builds success 

It was an easy decision for her to buy a brand new business in Glenelg, Adelaide. 

“I trained in Sydney at the Zambrero head office and received help in employing staff and building a team,” she explains. “It was fantastic, the training was first class. On opening day we had assistance from other restaurants and there has been continual support from the local and national team ever since.” 

As a Zambrero franchisee she embraced the systems, network support and mission-driven culture, and has built a strong, profitable business for herself and her family. 

And it has become a true family affair. 

Cathie’s daughter Hannah worked in the restaurant while she was at university before starting a career in the disability sector. Her son Jack worked for a year, moved away, and when he returned to Adelaide the appeal of the Zambrero brand and its opportunities proved too tempting to resist and the Molloys have become a true Zam Fam. 

Zambrero franchisee family success

“I had the Zambrero Glenelg restaurant, Zambrero Malvern, and a food truck,” says Cathie. “Our niece is now managing the Malvern outlet. The Glenelg restaurant we sold to Hannah and Jack, and they are doing well. It was even ranked a top performing restaurant over the recent summer holiday period. 

“This has been our succession plan,” reveals Cathie. “Our children have an opportunity to make money, to have more investments along the way, and to work for themselves. This is setting them up to have a good life, with flexibility.” 

Cathie says the family has successfully navigated the challenges of being in business together. 

“I have enjoyed working with family, and having the time together,” she says. “It is tough to be the boss with your children, but we keep it professional, and we all understand the conversations are purely work-related.” 

Cathie now focuses on operating the Zambrero food truck, which is a varied and intense experience, she says. 

“The food truck is full on; we do the equivalent of a day’s restaurant turnover in two to three hours. 

“We sponsor our favourite baseball team, Adelaide Giants. Over the summer we do eight weekends with them and attend Glenelg AFL games. I would love to get into music festivals too!” 

Still looking for more opportunities, Cathie reflects on building an established business that she could pass on to the next generation. 

“You need to spend time in the business, get to know your staff, make sure the culture going forward is good. If you work in the business from the start you build up great relationships,” she says. 

A vibrant, dynamic culture 

The strong, welcoming culture at Zambrero is one of the elements of being a franchise partner that Cathie most values. 

“There is a group of franchisees in Adelaide that socialise together. We have a couple of good friends who are franchise partners, and we even attended a franchise partner’s wedding!” she says. 

The spirited goodwill of the brand extends beyond the local franchisee connections, she points out. 

“Our annual Plate 4 Plate Day is fantastic, and a great way to spend quality time with our local communities in a hands on impactful way with over 1,500 volunteers across the country packing over 430,000 meals together on a single day. We also love attending the annual Zambrero conference to reconnect with our extended Zam Fam across the whole Franchise network. This is a friendly, inclusive franchise. We want to all grow our businesses, and work hard, it is a team effort,” she says. 

“Head office is always there for me if I need help, I think they are great. We went to Sydney recently for a 21st birthday and met up with the CEO for a drink. Everyone is accessible. It’s a real partnership.” 

Cathie is proud of the benefits that her business ownership has brought the family. 

“Financially we have been set for retirement, we have had beautiful holidays, we have a lovely house; it’s really given us peace of mind,” she says. 

And with a succession plan in place, the next generation of Molloys are ready to fire up and optimise the Zambrero brand potential. 

“If you buy into a Zambrero franchise and approach it with gusto, and enthusiasm, then I think you’re going to be OK,” says Cathie.