Tom comes from humble beginnings in regional Australia. His family were in agriculture and small business going back 4 generations. He left school and home at a young age to pursue a bakery apprenticeship. Once completed he backpacked across Australia playing football and working as a baker. His unique technical and food chemistry skills landed him in the thick of the baking and flour milling industries where he discovered an opportunity to open Australia’s first regional pizza chain Eagle Boys.
Over the next 20 years that followed he opened over 350 stores to become Australia and New Zealand’s largest privately owned pizza company. During this time Tom was named Australian Young Business Person of the Year allowing him a scholarship to go to Harvard Business School in the USA where he graduated 3 years later as class valedictorian.
Tom was appointed to several company and government boards including Brumbys Bakeries, The Ports Corporation of Queensland, Soul Origin, Doc Popcorn (USA), Wallace Bishop Jewellers, The Board of Brisbane and the AFL Commission. Tom has also been named an Australia Day Patron twice. He is a member of the worldwide Young Presidents Organisation a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has been inducted into the Franchise Council of Australia’s inaugural Hall of Fame.
Tom sold Eagle Boys in 2007 to investment bankers only to see it collapse some ten years later. In 2009 he wrote “The Eagle Boys Story” which has since gone on to sell over 15,000 copies Australia-wide.
After several years of retirement, Tom ventured back into the business and now operates Pizza Guardians and Galactic Donuts with his various partners in Queensland.
As a public speaker, he has travelled Australia and the world thrilling audiences with his down-to-earth and sometimes hilarious approach to business and its many challenges both highs and lows. His passion for business strategy, highly effective marketing and leadership along with “standing out like a zebra amongst horses” encompasses a unique style of speaking rarely available on the public speaking circuit from a person who has built a business empire more than once and lived to tell the tale.
He loves golf, his family, AFL football and the daily thrill of being back in the cut and thrust of business.
Eagle Boys commenced across the Australian landscape with a new bright business model only to be overrun by competitive forces soon after. It was then they had to dig deep, re-invent themselves and get real about competition and winning the war of the 'share of stomach'. But it wasn't until the mid/late 90s did they realise that although the company was tracking well it had to make diabolical changes if it were to survive and thrive over the coming ten years.
How to stand out like a zebra among horses
How to stand out like a zebra among horses
Enter the two-minute pizza - 'come and get your pizza from Eagle Boys and if it's not ready in two minutes it's free', along with the drive-thru - throwing a complete cat amongst the pigeons and challenging an entire industry but ultimately standing out like a zebra amongst the horses.
Tom's reason for change was clear, “We want to be the leader in the industry - terrifying our competitors as to what we would do next in order to improve a customer experience, instead of being the ones waiting for the rouge elephant to come over the hill and crush us.
Tom was dynamic, full of life, and held the audience in the palm of his hand the whole time. Very well received, and beneficial to all attendees. ... keep reading Australian Friendly Societies Association
Tom was excellent - delivery, content, relevance to our group were all 100%. He is one of the best speakers we have ever had and he was perfect for our audience.
Tom was a guest speaker at our Conference last year and we invited him back to participate in a workshop panel. He is very well regarded by our delegates, his business is similar to our member businesses and they can relate. He was very professional and has the right style and culture for our group.
Tom Potter was great, for the rest of the day and even in today's workshops the presenters are referring to points that Tom mentioned.
He was very engaging with the audience. It was encouraging to see that he spoke of his failures on his journey as anyone in business would understand it is not just sunshine an rainbows. His manner was very down to earth and genuine and was well suited to the audience.