Business Franchise Australia



Former Nando’s NZ executive Garth Parker is joining Poolwerx, the world’s largest pool service franchise, this month as the brand’s first master franchise partner, as the brand announces ambitious plans to grow to 40 stores in the next 10 years.

The appointment comes off the back of Poolwerx success through COVID-19, which has seen New Zealand sales jump 50 per cent year on year and two new stores set to open on the North Island in a matter of months.

The New Zealand native will oversee the growth of the local market, taking charge of franchise development, growing the capacity of current franchise partners, identifying potential acquisitions, growing Poolwerx’s commercial presence on both islands and managing brand compliance. He is also set to open his first retail store on the Whangaparāoa Peninsula on the North Island later this year.

Mr Parker brings a very strong background in franchising, having spent the last five years as general manager and director of Nando’s NZ, a NZD50 million retail brand he took from out of the red and into the black, doubling sales in five years.

Prior to this, he held a range of managerial positions with fast food brands Red Rooster and Oporto, and health products retail chains Healthzone and Healthy Life in Sydney. Mr Parker and his wife Emily also ran their own successful chain of gourmet burger restaurants in Sydney in early 2000.

In just 12 years, Poolwerx has grown to become the largest national pool servicing brand in New Zealand. Despite the initial challenges brought on by COVID-19, the associated lockdown and travel restrictions have led to a boom in sales for Poolwerx, with people shedding overseas travel and instead investing into home improvements, including turning their backyard into an oasis and destination for family fun.

Datamine data shows that while travel and accommodation spend dropped 48 per cent compared to December 2019 in New Zealand, spending in furniture, appliances and homewares and health goods and services went up 15 and 13 per cent respectively[1].

Poolwerx global CEO John O’Brien said this first master franchise agreement marked a significant step in the brand’s expansion plan in the land of the long white cloud.

“It was really important for us to have a Kiwi owning our New Zealand master franchise. It’s a significant commitment to the growth and success of our brand in New Zealand, coming off the back of phenomenal growth in the last 12 months,” Mr O’Brien said. “Garth’s experience as a multi-site franchise partner and manager and director roles across a range of franchising brands has seen him build considerable knowledge across all areas of franchising and business functions.”

Mr Parker said he looked forward to further growing the franchise across north and south islands.

“I’m excited to join Poolwerx’ fast-growing team to further grow the business locally. This is a really exciting time for the brand, as people continue to invest in their home and backyard, Poolwerx is perfectly placed to capitalise on this opportunity,” Mr Parker said.

Mr Parker holds a Bachelor of Management Studies, Majoring in Marketing from the University of Waikato.




[1] (Datamine requires a log-in to see the full report)