Zambrero’s reCONNECT Conference
An FCM Meetings & Events’ client with a strong purpose, Zambrero is as it says - Feel Good Mex! Zambrero is a restaurant franchise serving fresh, Mexican inspired food, with a humanitarian enterprise at its heart. It was founded in Canberra, Australia in 2005 by Dr Sam Prince who was a medical student at the time. He has grown the brand to be Australia’s largest Mexican group with over 245 restaurants across all states and in recent years, expanding to New Zealand, Ireland the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Today the brand has also donated over 66 million meals through their Plate 4 Plate initiative. That’s why Zambrero is called “Feel Good Mex”.
After not being able to get together since 2019, the Zambrero reCONNECT Conference in 2022 was a crucial opportunity for this people-focused client to bring their franchise partners, restaurants managers, suppliers and head office team together to update them on the brand’s future plans. The event objective was to ensure the franchise partners felt connected to Zambrero, and each other, and that the store managers were celebrated and listened to.
The client also wanted to engage with suppliers and get them excited about the brand’s bright future, while giving them the opportunity to connect directly with franchisees and restaurant managers in an informal setting. Zambrero head office staff were there to build relationships with the attendees and to promote an aligned and synergistic culture across the wider Zambrero network.
To find a fun, engaging and central location for attendees travelling from across Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States. The planning required FCM Meetings & Events to coordinate head office travel, with delegate arrivals and transfers to the conference across multiple domestic and international flight schedules. Ultimately, QT Gold Coast was selected for the property’s proximity to two major airports – Coolangatta on the Gold Coast and Brisbane just an hour away.
With a large number of delegates invited, attendee numbers fluctuated throughout the registration process according to personal travel circumstances. At one stage the number of potential attendees peaked beyond the number of rooms originally contracted at QT Gold Coast. This meant a juggling act for FCM Meetings & Events, as numbers reached as high as 400, before confirmed figures eventually settled at 320 people. While the majority of delegates stayed on site at QT, additional property accommodation was sourced to cater to the final numbers.
To complement the vibrant, fresh and young energy of the Zambrero brand, FCM Meetings & Events created an event that was fun, different and engaging. The exciting and iconic beachside location provided the perfect backdrop for the exchange of ideas, collaboration and future planning.
Conference sessions and a supplier expo were held over three days, with the event being kicked off with some quintessential Gold Coast activities including stand up paddle boarding, yoga and a margarita making masterclass, followed by a welcome event in the QT hotel featuring one of Zambrero’s own franchise partners/DJ. Night time events transformed the QT Hotel and give it a ‘Glow Up’ for the gala dinner – complete with entertainment from dancers, flash mob waiters and a 360 photo booth, followed by an afterparty at the Stingray Bar in QT. On night two a ‘Retro Beach Bash’ was held at the nearby Cali Beach Club, with entertainment including a fire performer, custom inflatables, video screens and a 360 photo booth, followed by an afterparty at Dukes Parlour.
A simple, but highly impactful conference stage setting and expo plan, encouraged interaction and also allowed the QT ballroom to be quickly turned around to host the gala dinner. The changeover effectively created a different feel and ambience for the evening event, using lighting and props to reflect the festive ‘Glow Up’ theme.
Feedback gathered by FCM Meetings & Events confirmed that the opportunity to reconnect with other franchisees, store managers, suppliers and HQ staff was the clear highlight. With one delegate describing their highlight as – ‘meeting people from different regions and actually meeting and discussing challenges with the people that I have been emailing or phoning for a long time.’
The guest speakers also struck a chord with the attendees, especially Mark Mathews and his presentation ‘The Next Wave’. With one attendee commenting – ‘overall a great conference, very informative. I very much enjoyed Mark Mathew’s speech as it was very engaging and eye-opening.’ While guest speaker Chelsea Pottinger’s topic ‘Mindset Reset’ was also a crowd pleaser – ‘with the challenging years that we have had, it was really appreciated getting someone like Chelsea in as a keynote.’
The FCM Meetings & Events team consisted of members from across live events and group travel to deliver the event management and travel services. From a visual branding perspective, a simple and effective stage design featuring Zambrero’s green branding was used to portray fresh ideas and to promote an energised environment. This branding design also flowed through to light boxes, name tags and lanyards.
A customised website was developed to host the registration portal and to allow Zambrero staff to access reports for RSVPs, flights and accommodation, special requirements and responses from the website.
FCM Meetings & Events created a mobile delegate event app to provide pre-event information, destination intel, event agenda reminders and alerts, individual travel bookings, speaker bios, a social wall, networking contact exchange, a link to the conference Q&A session and a post event survey.
In addition, FCM Meetings & Events team members were on site to facilitate hotel check-in, to liaise with attendees and Zambrero staff, to action last minute changes and manage all relevant suppliers onsite.
Some 90% of attendees rated their satisfaction with the event as being between 8 and 10, out of 10. While 95% rated their satisfaction with the venue and accommodation as between 8 and 10, out of 10.
‘The thought and effort that went into each event, speaker and panel was incredible and each one was extremely valuable and memorable.’
For FCM Meetings & Events, the successful conference represented a job well done for their client and they’re looking forward to working on the 2023 Zambrero conference – building on feedback from 2022 to shape their next extravaganza!
On behalf of the Zam Fam I just want to say a massive THANK YOU for all your support, dedication and hard work on our Reconnect Conference. The feedback has been incredible, and we couldn't have done it without you (quite a few even said it was the best Zambrero Conference EVER!). This really is an awesome achievement.
S Bergman, Business Support Manager