Skills, courage and risks bring businessman success

By Linda Hall

Warren Wright's book, Bullets, Burgers and Baked Beans is an open, honest account of his busy and successful life personally and professionally.

The title reflects the business aspects of Warren's life: bullets for his time in the police force, burgers for his time managing a McDonald's franchise and baked beans for his time owning and operating supermarkets.

He talks of the highs and lows of his life, and his love for and pride in his family - his wife, children and grandchild.

Warren reckons everyone has a book in them and, for him, completing his book was part of his bucket list.

"Over the years I have done lots of public speaking and people would always come up to me after and say: 'That's a great story, you should write it down'," Warren says.

"I've been writing chapters in my mind for years."

Then for Christmas his wife gave him ghost writer Paul Little.

Little interviewed Warren, returned with some questions and six months later the book was complete.

Descended from Ngati Kahungunu and with ties to Akitio, Warren has lived in Masterton, Wellington, Napier and Auckland. However, most of his family still live in Hawke's Bay.

He says his journey began when in the third form at Tararua College, in Pahiatua, he realised if he applied himself anything was possible.

Warren's first career was as a police officer.

This is my favourite part of the book. He tells some fascinating stories of his dealings with mob members, juveniles, the public and being flown around the country during the controversial Springbok tour.

Warren also tells of his time with the blue-light discos and his dealing with youth. He tells of the passion and love he has for his wife Marian, whom he met when he was just 13, and his children, Renee (television watchers will recognise the name Renee Wright), Monique and Peter.

Warren believes education is the key to a successful life - "It opens doors".

"Marian and I have used our skills and our courage over the years," he says. "We have taken risks. Huge ones.

"When we decided to buy the McDonald's franchise it was a huge financial risk. We basically held hands and jumped off a cliff."

However, hard work, good management skills and probably a little luck ensured their business went from strength to strength.

"Marian was always at the front so to speak, while I was better with the admin side of things," he says.

He says the hardest part was managing staff. In the past 20 years they have employed more than 1000 people.

"Staff are demanding. However, I think the more you give the more you get when it comes to managing people. It's great to see someone grow in confidence. Their growth was our growth."

The Wrights are happy now being doting grandparents.

They are looking forward to the birth of their second grandchild in April in Sydney.

But Warren says he's not ready to retire yet and still has a couple more business ventures in him. Watch this space.

Bullets, Burgers and Baked Beans is available in all bookstores. For more information go to

- Hawkes Bay Today

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