Guzman y Gomez was founded in Sydney, Australia in 2006 by New Yorkers and childhood best friends Steven Marks and Robert Hazan. Steven, a former hedge fund manager, and Robert, who had a background in fashion wholesale and retail, both missed the authentic fresh flavors of Mexican cuisine that they had grown up with in America.
After realizing that there was a genuine gap in the market for fresh, delicious Mexican food, they decided to create their own restaurant named Guzman y Gomez to honor their childhood friends. Steven and Robert had a vision to build a restaurant business that had the speed and convenience of fast food but to re-invent the fast food category by serving high-quality food.
They then set about ensuring the brand was authentic to its core and established GYG’s values which remain today. Every detail in establishing the brand was thought out. The brand’s main colors were developed as well as the bespoke GYG font in the logo (look carefully and you will see the GYG font is made of sticky tape to represent the amazing street art of Mexico).
“My mindset when we started was whatever we were building, I wanted it to be the best. We make everything fresh. We never compromise.”
– Steven Marks (Founder and Co-CEO)
Steven and Robert then set about designing the bespoke operating platform & sticker system which remains one of the fastest fresh fast food operating platforms in the world; ensuring GYG could prepare and make high-quality fresh burritos, nachos & tacos at speed.
The first Guzman y Gomez restaurant opened in Newtown, Australia in 2006. From the outset, Steven was adamant that GYG would never compromise on the quality of the food or its people. Steven hired chefs from Mexico to bring the authentic taste and flavors to life and started to develop his team into the best restaurant operators in the country, many of whom are franchisees in the business today.
By April 2012, there were 12 Guzman y Gomez restaurants in Australia. Over the next ten years, the brand expanded interstate and then went global, opening at the end of 2013 in Singapore followed by Japan in 2015, and then to the USA, Steven and Robert’s homeland, in 2020.
GYG’s commitment to reinvent fast food continued to inspire new ways to serve fresh Mexican food to everyone. From the first drive-thru in 2015 to menu innovations like Breakfast, the Minis range, and GYG’s signature Chiptole-Seasoned Fries, and even a market-leading app for guests to pay & order ahead and earn loyalty points – the GYG love just kept spreading!
Today GYG operates over 200 restaurants in Australia, Singapore, Japan, and the United States. Steven Marks remains the Founder and Co-CEO of the business globally and Robert Hazan sits on the Board of Directors as a Non-Executive Director, supported by a team of over 15,000 employees in restaurants and 200 people in our ‘Hola Central’ head offices.
With a goal to open over 40 restaurants a year globally, Steven and Robert’s dream is only just getting started…not bad for a couple of kids from New York.
GYG’s journey began in 2006 with our first restaurant in Newtown, Australia. After embracing the franchise business model, GYG now spans over
200+ restaurants in 4 countries across Australia, Singapore, Japan and the US.
Founded by Steven Marks & Robert Hazan, our first restaurant opens in Sydney, Australia's vibrant Newtown area. Affectionately nicknamed "The Baby", the store continues to thrive to this day!
With the love for Guzman y Gomez quickly growing, GYG's first group of investors come on board, including our current Chairman.
Our first franchised restaurant in Australia opens in Fortitude Valley, Queensland.
Our first restaurant outside of Australia opens, with GYG launching at Asia Square, Singapore.
Hello Tokyo! GYG opens our first Japanese restaurant in the famous Harajuku district.
The first of our famous drive-thrus, Nerang, opens in Queensland, Australia.
Launched skin-on, real potato fries tossed in GYG's own Chipotle seasoning.
Our landmark 100th restaurant opens in Burleigh, Queensland, Australia.
TDM Growth Partners take a minority stake in GYG.
Party in the USA! Our first US restaurant opens in Naperville, IL. Many more to come!
GYG kicks off the year by welcoming it's second US location!
GYG welcomes it's third US location in early 2023!