The idea is to build a scalable brand, not just a restaurant. So they have a research kitchen in the basement where they try out new recipes. One of their locations is what’s known as a ghost kitchen. You can’t eat there. It’s a kitchen that exists just for delivery. Overall, Yong is trying to build this beautiful restaurant chain. And it was going pretty well.
Two months into the lockdown, Yong and his team have kind of figured out how to survive. The family meals, the deliveries to hospital workers, the three-course dinners – it’s keeping the business afloat for now.
But Yong is not thinking about now. As usual, he’s focusing on what happens next when the lockdown is lifted, when he’ll have to face the single most dangerous thing in this pandemic – people, people starting to eat at his restaurants again.Planet Money
This episode was inspirational for me. I’ve worked in and around restaurants and bars for a good portion of my life. It was great to hear from someone who isn’t terrified into inaction by the prospect of having to change how he does business. He is heading towards the future with an eye on what people are doing in other places that are coming out the other side of this pandemic. I wish I was confident that more people in the United States were following his stellar example.
I’ve now read of a few places trying to reinvent themselves on the other side of pandemic. This could be a good sign. I look forward to hearing of others.