Jonathan Crowe has been many things during his sporting and business careers.
But now the former Ironman and Baywatch star can add restaurateur and humanitarian to the list.
Crowe is the NSW development agent for Zambrero and just one week after he helped open the chains 150th Mexican restaurant in Australia at Nowra recently it ranked number two store in the nation.
“The response from the Nowra community has been amazing. We are certainly thrilled with the outcome. That has given us more motivation to do more on the South Coast. There is one planned for Albion Park. The traffic that goes along there is huge,” he said.
Along with creating employment the other reason why Crowe loves being involved in the business is what Zambrero’s Plate 4 Plate initiative does for poor people around the world.
“For every burrito or bowl we sell we donate a plate of food to someone in need,” he said.
“And with all the retail products we sell a meal is donated to Foodbank. We partner with an organisation called Rise Against Hunger and we donate 100,000 meals a week at the moment”.
Crowe said a major milestone was achieved at Easter. Since Zambrero was started in 2005 by Dr Sam Prince more than 14 million meals have now been donated. The goal is to escalate that by opening many more stores. The aim is to donate one billion meals by 2025.
With so many new stores opening in his territory Crowe said the Illawarra and South Coast will help Zambrero hit the 20 million meal mark within the next few months.
“It is pretty amazing to be a part of that,” he said.
“It is a major part of why we (my family) are involved with this brand. It has really determined the culture within the organisation as well. It is very much about helping people. We love that. The culture runs from the CEO to all the amazing young people working in our stores. It is fantastic seeing the affect it has on those guys. They really embrace the Plate 4 Plate initiative.”
When Crowe returned from working on major development projects in Dubai he lived in Townsville for three years and became familiar with one of the first Zambrero stores in Australia.
“It was my go to meal on the weekends. It was really healthy and I really loved the Plate 4 Plate initiative,” he said.
Then when he moved back to Wollongong his family discovered the Wollongong Zambrero corporate store was on the market in lower Crown Street. It was during those negotiations that he was asked by the company to take over the development agency role. “We basically look after Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong. And all the way up into the Hunter Valley and down to the Victorian border. My role is to open restaurants, find sites and work with franchisees to help them and build the brand. We own the Wollongong store and we have two more stores we will be opening this year”.
“In my area now when we started we only had two stores. We now have nine and we look like we are going to do 10 stores this year. Some of those are brand new development sites.”