MILDURA’S Mexican restaurant ‘Zambrero’ has played its part as the franchised company chalked up an impressive milestone this week.

Zambrero announced this week that it has donated an incredible 50 million meals to those in need around the globe through its ‘Plate 4 Plate’ initiative.

The rapidly growing global franchise was established in Australia in 2005, and is now in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the USA.

Zambrero Mildura opened in late 2017, and since then the community support of the local franchise has helped donate almost 200,000 of those 50 million meals.

Mildura Zambrero franchise partners Adrian Morris and Tina Panuccio operate the popular Eighth Street store, and Mr Morris said this week that the pair were “certainly very proud of the store’s achievement” while paying tribute to the support of his loyal customers.

“Of course it is our customers who are to be thanked. They are the ones who ‘do it’ when they make their purchase and a meal is automatically donated on their behalf,” he said.

“Without them we couldn’t do it, so we are very thankful for their support – they make it all happen.”

Zambrero has been able to trade throughout the COVID lockdowns − continuing their take-away service − something Mr Morris is grateful for.

“We have been super-fortunate here to have been able to stay open with our take-away throughout the successive coronavirus lockdowns,” he said.

“Our doors have remained open right through the COVID pandemic, albeit the dining room did shut down and our trade has been severely impacted, but we still consider ourselves fortunate.

“And so, despite all that, we have still been able to achieve what we have, not just as an individual restaurant, but as a group of restaurants right across Australia and internationally as well.”

There’s no doubt the tastebuds of Mildura residents have taken to the Mexican food Zambrero serve and whether it’s dine-in or take-away, they are loving it!

“Mexican is a very popular cuisine at the moment,” Mr Morris said.

“I guess that’s just because of the simple fact that Zambrero’s food is very fresh, it’s healthy, it’s very quick and fast – you can come in or out within a few minutes and be on your way or choose to dine-in and enjoy it here and it’s always good with a Margarita or a Corona on the side!”

Every burrito or bowl purchased at Zambrero sees a meal donated to someone in need through the Plate 4 Plate program.

Plate 4 Plate has been at the heart of the Zambrero approach since its inception in 2005. Founder Dr Sam Prince opened his first Zambrero restaurant in his hometown of Canberra when he was a 21-year-old medical student wanting to serve good food that did good.

His vision has now gone global, with 215 restaurants in five countries.

Each has an in-restaurant counter clocking up in real time the number of burritos and bowls sold and, in turn, the number of meals donated.

Zambrero partners with Rise Against Hunger globally and additionally with Foodbank in Australia to achieve its mission of ending world hunger.

Zambrero Australia CEO, Matthew Kenny said that achieving the 50 Million Meal milestone is largely due to the passion, enthusiasm and commitment of their franchise partners and staff who have made sure that Zambrero reached this milestone despite the multiple challenges presented as a result of COVID restrictions and shut-downs.

“This reflects the drive, success and growth of our franchise partners in selling 50 million burritos and bowls to help us reach the 50 Million Meals milestone earlier than we anticipated,” Mr Kenny said.

“We also can’t forget the most Important part of this journey, our customers − without them, none of this would be possible. We are sincerely thankful for their ongoing support and look forward to many more meals donated together in the future.

“Zambrero is proof that values-driven businesses can be very successful while also driving positive change in the world.

“We’re going to celebrate 50 million meals for a little while but we are also looking towards the goal of 1 billion meals donated!”

By JOHN DOOLEY

ABOVE: Zambrero Mildura franchisee Adrian Morris celebrates the 50 million meals milestone.