Doc sees the big picture and communities benefit

The new $330 million Craigieburn Central shopping complex is home to more than 160 retailers, including an outlet from Mexican food chain-cum-humanitarian organisation Zambrero Fresh Mex Grill.

It’s the 34th restaurant opened in Australia since the first store was set up in 2005 by aid worker and entrepreneur Sam Prince.

What sets the Mexican restaurant franchise apart from the plethora of South American-inspired eateries is that Dr Prince started the business while still in medical school to fund his philanthropic ambitions.

As a 21-year-old Monash University student, he opened his first outlet in Canberra selling nachos to fund Emagine, his not-for-profit organisation that facilitates health and education projects in indigenous communities and developing countries.

He’s a rare breed of entrepreneur, for whom people come before profits.

Dr Prince, 30, was born in Scotland to Sri Lankan parents who credit free education with breaking the cycle of poverty.

“My parents came from the developing world [rural Sri Lanka]. I’ve always wanted to be a bit more authentic about where I came from,” he said. “Ultimately, we’re all global citizens.”

Every time a burrito is sold, Zambrero donates a meal to someone in need through its Plate 4 Plate program.

The organisation works in partnership with international hunger relief agency Stop Hunger Now, which co-ordinates and distributes food and other lifesaving aid to children and families in need all over the world.

So far, 1,635,374 meals have been distributed since the first Zambrero store opened.

The Craigieburn Central restaurant is part of the company’s strategy to expand throughout the country and internationally.

“Craigieburn fits our demographic. It was also a good commercial opportunity,” Dr Prince said.

In its first four days since opening on November 29, the new restaurant served more than 4000 people and donated almost 1300 meals to those in need, said Zambrero’s franchise manager for Victoria, Daryl McCormack.