Kulbir Singh’s slice of life story from Punjab to Pizza Hut
If his parents had not packed their bags and moved from Punjab, India, to New Zealand in 2005, seeking a new beginning, life would have been very different, says Kulbir Singh Jhandi.
“My father Tony Mann Singh Jhandi and mother Suman Preet arrived in Auckland with zero dollars as they describe it,” says Kulbir, who was born in Auckland. “My father struggled more than any of us, trying to make a life for us in a new country. He worked different jobs, from delivering milk to driving taxis,” says Kulbir, adding that his mom worked as a nurse.
“Starting my own business has truly taught me the value of money. Every struggle our family has been through has held a lesson for life within it. It has made me successful at what I do”
Tony then decided to start his own business, and established a dairy product store. Years went by and he went from dairy to a liquor store, then a coffee shop to property development, so the spirit of entrepreneurship was something he grew up with, says Kulbir. It’s what helped him establish his successful Pizza Hut franchise, he adds.
Kulbir’s parents also dabbled in hospitality, buying into a motel business, and then later starting an Indian restaurant in Chermside West Field called Exotic India. “They had loyal customers and ran the business for more than a decade,” says Kulbir.
After high school, Kulbir enrolled in Tafe, where he did a diploma in business and marketing because, as he admits, he was still not sure what he wanted to do in life.
Kulbir also helped his parents, working at the restaurant part-time. “I learned a lot about the business and that’s when I began to realise that I wanted to be in the food industry,” says Kulbir. “We later sold Exotic India and the family opened the Pizza Hut. Although they helped me get started, I now run the franchise on my own,” says Kulbir. “Starting my own business has truly taught me the value of money. Every struggle our family has been through has held a lesson for life within it. It has made me successful at what I do,” he says.