The secret sauce behind Guzman y Gomez’s successful scaling overseas with DocuSign

The secret sauce behind Guzman y Gomez’s successful scaling overseas with DocuSign

By David Simmons
4 February 2022
Partner Content

Beginning its life as a single store startup in Sydney’s trendy Newtown back in 2006, Steven Mark’s Guzman y Gomez has since become a global player, with stores now serving the beloved Mexican fare in Singapore, Japan and the US.

But global scale was not achieved overnight – and with each new market the company entered different challenges were presented.

Coming second to Australia in terms of market size for GYG is Singapore. While small geographically, more than 5 million people are packed onto the island in South East Asia – that’s a lot of mouths to feed.

Though the company currently has 15 restaurants there, general manager of GYG Singapore Josh Bell says he hopes to open another two restaurants this year, and three to five next year.

This fast-paced growth is just one thing to manage – unique challenges like fast employee turnover are another, and one that has seen GYG take a new, digital approach to managing HR.

With three years of trading in the Singaporean market under the company’s belt, expansion is on the cards, and this means more lease agreements and potentially thousands of employment contracts need to be signed.

“Agreements are critical to stabilising the future of our business,” Bell said.

To manage this immense scaling, and fast turnover of staff – predominantly the result of the workforce being students looking to make some cash while studying – a new approach was taken by GYG, one that saw it embrace digital technologies.

To assist in this digital transition, GYG reached out to DocuSign which helped the fast-food chain move away from paper-based operations. The Australian company’s operations are now 90 per cent paperless as a result.

“One of the primary reasons we chose DocuSign was because of its web-based interface. It was simple for our team to understand and implement without needing much onboarding. We increased our productivity very quickly,” says Bell. 

“The solution also helped ease the onboarding process and training, especially when someone in HR chose to resign.

“It feels like DocuSign was customised specifically for our business.”

Bell was also impressed by the functionality of the software, confirming the company has “never had any function or connectivity issues”.

Digital switch making life easier for GYG

Prior to integrating DocuSign’s e-Signature solution, Bell said the company had a manual system of sending or exchanging physical paperwork and documents to get them signed – a nightmare considering the mountain of contracts passing through the business each year.

“The worst part about agreements is when they go wrong, and you have to try and find the copy to fix it,” Bell said. 

“It can get ugly.”

The international franchise found signing documents a challenge due to human error and last-minute modifications in franchisee or supplier agreements. It was “time-consuming and frustrating, often delaying the execution of new partnerships,” Bell explained.

“Now that digital documents are binding, and more people are accepting digital agreements, it is a no brainer,” Bell said. 

“Anyone that is not embracing this solution is stalling their own development.”

The move to digital was even more helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic, when meeting face-to-face became nearly impossible, which encouraged the company’s partners to embrace the solutions offered by DocuSign too.

“We had to push people to embrace digital solutions and cloud-based software like Google Drive and Google Suite,” says Bell. 

“And some partners weren’t yet comfortable with digital contracts even though they were binding.

“The pandemic supercharged people’s timeframe on implementing digital solutions.”

Fortunately, the company’s corporate office was well-equipped to deal with lockdown and remote work. GYG had already made the change from paper-based audits of its operations, food, safety, training and restaurants to digital auditing.

Josh further says that even during COVID-19, GYG pushed customers to pay via tap, with DocuSign playing an essential role in this journey.

Ultimately, Bell said the transition away from paper to digital has helped the GYG workforce feel more confident, comfortable, and efficient as DocuSign handles all the paperwork for the group and makes it accessible at any time.

“That’s morale-boosting in the current environment,” says Josh. 

“It’s rewarding for our team to be so productive and feel good about their role. They no longer have to do the horrendously repetitive tasks that involve paperwork.

“With DocuSign’s help, our business is 90 per cent paperless, agreements get signed within two hours and our staff feels empowered and confident in our brand. This is why we’re one of most successful restaurant businesses.”

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