A veteran in the restaurant industry, Pizza Hut’s Chief Customer and Operations Officer, Nicolas Burquier, has helped grow Yum! Brands’ global footprint for nearly 15 years. Learn more about his journey and what motivates him.

Who inspired you most when you were young? My grandfather and grandmother were inspirations to me growing up. My grandfather always taught me to stand up for what you believe in and be your best, even if the journey is tough. During World War II, he remained true to his beliefs and fought for what he held dear to him – I find so much honor in that. And my grandmother was undoubtedly the most optimistic and courageous person I have ever known.

What did you want to be when you were young? A downhill skier – always loved the adrenaline of it! But then I hit a crossroad after high school and ultimately decided I really wanted to get into the restaurant and hospitality business.

You’ve been in the restaurant business for most of your career, tell us a little about your journey. After graduating from hotel school and earning my MBA in France, I decided to take the “road less travelled” and rolled up my sleeves to learn the quick service restaurant (QSR) business when most of my peers went in to hotel management. From back of house, to Assistant Manager, to Restaurant General Manager, and all the way up to General Manager of Operations at a large theme park, each step on this journey taught me critical elements in the restaurant industry. In 2005, I joined the Yum! team in France, building KFC presence at a very fast pace and later moving to oversee KFC Canada.

You joined the Pizza Hut U.S. team in January 2017. What interested you about the brand and what’s the best part about working at Pizza Hut? Pizza Hut leads in delivery and technology hands down. These were two areas I really wanted to learn and further leverage these strengths to help franchisees grow their businesses. And of course, the people at Pizza Hut are extraordinary culture ambassadors – it’s just a great place to be!

What do you enjoy most about working with franchisees? I absolutely enjoy building these relationships and hearing their stories – many of these franchisees are here for life and I have the utmost respect for what they’re doing. The commitment they demonstrate to the brand, their teams, their community and the organization is unprecedented.

It’s a Friday night, what are you planning to order from the $5 Lineup? Without hesitation, the Pepperoni P’ZONE® and it’s more like twice a week – it is my favorite!

Any parting words to share? Surround yourself with great people – they will provide you with the support and space you need to grow, but also challenge you to always be your best.

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