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Owning it: The Youngest Franchisee of Hell Pizza is Driven by Ambition and Labor

It becomes less astonishing that Katlyn Antonio, at the age of 21, runs a Hell franchise the more she talks.

Confident, conscious of her leadership abilities, and unambiguous about her objectives, she exudes responsibility in the same way that the pizza franchise does.

Antonio has gone from part-time after-school pizza making to co-owner of Hell’s new business in Terrace End, where he oversees a workforce of ten employees, in just three and a half years.

The former student from Palmerston North Girls’ High School is unfazed by the pressure, quick pace, people management, or profit margins. She enjoys it.

“You learn a lot of stuff on the job. In high school, I didn’t take any business courses. Since I studied art, I didn’t engage in any of these activities.I merely picked it up from my own supervisors and via experience.

Antonio was exposed to hospitality as well. As an eight-year-old, she had vivid memories of conversing with the patrons of Rendezvous Restaurant, which her mother had owned in Fitzherbert.

“I grew up there in a way.”

She wasn’t always thinking clearly. She had long harbored travel fantasies and was drawn to Japan, but the Covid epidemic derailed her intended “gap year” following high school.

“I kind of got over that idea really quickly because work was the only other thing to do.”

Antonio worked her way up to a duty manager position at Hell and raised her hours to full-time.

“I think I picked things up quite quickly. Even before the manager position opened up, I thought I was a born leader.

“I was already giving staff members tasks. The sequence was rather simple, and I thought I performed well under duress.

Antonio went back to school, attending Massey University to study anthropology, Japanese, and linguistics. However, she dropped out of school after just one semester because she missed her full-time job so much.

“I adore my job. I put in my best work. In the following five years, I want to make as much money as I can, pay off the business, and purchase a home.Those are the things that are essential to me.

“When I graduated from high school, I always thought that by the time I was 25, I wanted to be in a really comfortable and stable position.”

But, she didn’t expect to become a business owner—at least not just yet.

The chance came when Chirag Thour, the proprietor of the Taonui St Hell and her mentor, suggested a joint venture to open a second store in the city. Antonio would handle the store and take a twenty percent share.

Without him, not at this point in my life, I could not have succeeded. He has been my mentor and a huge assistance throughout.

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