Who will answer your question about starting and running a small business from successful business owners who have done it themselves?
This month, we’re partnering with business owners featured on Grit & Greenlights: Small Business Stories to answer questions from our social media audience – getting started, building a team, expanding the position, and more.
Here, Christine Ha – 2012 Masterchef winner, co-owner of famous Houston restaurants @theblindgoathtx and xinchaohtx, and most recently nominated by James Beard – shared what she has learned about opening and operating a restaurant.
Love, love Jin want !! What’s your # 1 tip for someone who wants to start a restaurant but has no experience?
Hire a good management team to support you and your vision. Hire people better than you to get things done, such as setting up processes, managing staff, and so on. Also, it really comes down to testing by fire and you will learn to go.
How do you go about hiring employees during your busy season? Especially when reliability is so important in the service industry?
You should not hire while you are busy. It must happen all the time. You never know when someone will leave or take the time — everyone has a life outside of work and this can often be unpredictable. You just have to be more discriminating with the help you render toward other people. This involves asking staff to refer people they know because they understand better who will fit into your company culture. It includes job advertisements and a word to other people in the industry.
Is there any privacy you have learned to reduce turnover in your restaurant?
There’s no privacy, but I’ve noticed that it helps set a clean company culture, especially including transparency.
What is the key to getting rich in a saturated business domain like a restaurant? And, what are your secret ingredients for the two restaurants having different ideas but becoming so popular with the same food?
Unfortunately, I have no specific privacy or key, but I think it’s important to have a strong ethical compass and a deep understanding of your brand and vision. All the decisions I make for restaurants, I first ask myself, how do I take it as a guest or a member of the team?
I always try to look at the other person’s potential perspective that will be influenced by my decision, and it helps me in my decision making process.
Now that you have two different restaurants, have there been any changes in how you manage your parties? And how do you divide your time and energy into different positions?
I don’t have children, but I imagine it’s the same. Now you have two kids to deal with, so you try to pool resources and try to streamline things as much as possible, regardless of assets, sellers, processes, etc. But you also have to look at which one you need to pay more attention to right now. At the same time, you cannot ignore the other because it will show the team’s morale or the quality of the output very quickly.