How hong kong restaurateurs handle the ‘curse’ of the michelin star _ south china morning post

Lai Wai-hung is in an expansive mood. Noodles n company coupons The founder of Hung’s Delicacies is gearing up to extend his group of Chiuchow eateries beyond the current three outlets in Hong Kong’s Kwun Tong district, Hong Kong International Airport and Macau.

A branch is set to open in Changsha, Hunan province, China, next month, followed by another in a mall in Tuen Mun, in Hong Kong’s New Territories, next year. Noodles and conpany What’s more, there are plans to venture overseas to Taiwan and Thailand.


Lai is clearly on a roll. Noodles and company c 470 and kipling He has been since 2009, when his original restaurant in North Point, Hong Kong, was awarded one star in the second edition of the Michelin Guide for Hong Kong and Macau.

“Only two budget eateries were awarded a star and mine was one of them,” he recalls (the other was Tim Ho Wan, a specialist dim sum restaurant in Mong Kok ).

Known for its Chiu Chow-style braised meats, Hung’s Delicacies retained its Michelin star over the next four years and Lai began receiving overtures from companies hoping to get a slice of the action.

“Many people asked to collaborate with us. Noodles and company coupon Some offered several hundred million dollars [for a stake], but I knew such a deal would mean giving up decision-making power as they would hold the majority of shares,” Lai says.

He eventually partnered with the Ideal Group in 2013 in a deal that gave him continued autonomy in running the restaurants while they split profits down the middle.

For the Ideal Group, the collaboration was part of its long-term diversification from zip production into property, entertainment and hospitality. Noodles and company valpo The group has an eye to add Lai’s Chiu Chow dishes to the range provided in its hotels.

Lai, on the other hand, got to rent premises owned by Ideal at slightly less than market rates – which is how Hung’s Delicacies moved to its current location, a 1,400 sq ft space in Kwun Tong where he is able to offer a much more extensive menu.

But the Michelin seal of approval can be a mixed blessing. Oodles noodles menu leicester It undoubtedly brings public attention and many more customers. Noodles and company deerfield However, after the initial euphoria fades, such recognition also ushers in challenges that can be the kiss of death for some restaurants.

When Michelin launched its first Hong Kong street food guide this year, Cheung Hing Kee, a diner in Tsuen Wan selling Shanghai pan-fried buns, was among the 23 honorees.

Business went up, but so did the rent – the landlord raised the rent on its 400 sq ft shop by 30 per cent to HK$200,000 a month. Noodles restaurant menu Cheung Hing Kee’s owners were forced to close, although it later reopened in a much smaller space in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The guide was created more than a century ago by French tyre makers Andre and Edouard Michelin, initially as a directory of places to eat while on the road. Noodles and company investor relations But it soon evolved to become a bible of haute cuisine in France and later fine dining worldwide, now covering 24 countries. Wide noodles It also introduced the bib gourmand category for more modest restaurants, where diners can expect to pay no more than about HK$300 for a three-course meal (excluding drinks).

Despite competition from other restaurant rankings and criticism that the guide is snobbish and irrelevant to modern diners, ratings in the Michelin guide still have a powerful impact on restaurants, especially in the West.

Gordon Ramsay, the tough-talking British celebrity chef, told the Daily Mail in 2013 that he cried when his New York restaurant The London lost its two Michelin stars. Noodles and company blaine The pressure associated with maintaining a Michelin star is so great that some chefs simply pull out – Skye Gyngell quit as head chef of the Petersham Nurseries Cafe in 2012, saying she did not like the expectations diners had of a Michelin-rated establishment. Noodles and company iupui In January this year, Benoit Violier, the chef and owner of the three-Michelin-star Restaurant de l’Hôtel de Ville in Switzerland, committed suicide just before the latest Michelin list was released.

Conscious of the fallout from Michelin adulation, some Hong Kong restaurants have avoided the temptation of expanding quickly in favour of maintaining the quality of their food.

Food court managers invite them to open outlets and property agents tout spaces for new branches, but owner Wang Hong-chun rejects them all. Noodles hours of operation “I don’t want to expand,” Wang says.

Dumplings made with machines taste different because alkaline water and cornflour have to be added for the equipment to work the dough, Wang adds.

“Our shop is staffed by relatives and friends. Where is noodles So it’s a family business. Noodles and company wausau The Michelin effect is huge, as it gives us a lot of publicity and business rose 30 per cent in the first month after the news,” says Chiu Wing-keng, who has been running the dessert business since his father retired.

“We don’t want to do all of those,” Chiu says. Noodles and company woodridge “My dad trained me for three years in the art of making [traditional Chinese] desserts before letting me take over. Noodles and company sandy A change of chef would definitely affect the taste, so I won’t consider opening outlets until I have found people to train up as chefs.”

The dim sum joint in Mong Kok that was awarded a Michelin star in the 2010 Hong Kong and Macau guide has since opened four more outlets. Noodles and company data breach More recently, it signed an agreement for Japanese catering group World Dining Inspirations to open franchised outlets in the US and Europe.

Since the restaurant moved to larger premises in Kwun Tong, the menu has tripled from the original 30 items to 90 dishes. Noodles and company eagan New offerings include oyster congee, oyster cake and desserts such as layered coffee pudding. Noodles and company vacaville They also introduced a line of cookies, including a shrimp and dried scallop biscuit, that may develop a new revenue stream.

“A businessman said he wants to build factories to produce and distribute the cookies in Southeast Asia,” Lai says. Noodles and company calories “We are still at the talking stage.”

But Lai’s expansionary efforts, including the setting up of a central kitchen in Kwun Tong to prepare ingredients, have drawn flak, with some saying that he is sacrificing quality for growth.

“While we were in North Point, we had to close on Monday and Tuesday every week just to prepare the food. Yaya noodles menu Now the central kitchen only helps with the early food processing stage, he says.

“People say my brand might suffer after expansion, but there’s no difference between then and now. Noodles and company lakewood co The food is a bit more expensive, but diners are sitting in a much more comfortable and hygienic environment. Noodle or noodles ”

His restaurant has not retained its Michelin star since it opened in Kwun Tong in 2013; nevertheless, the chef continues to display a Michelin figure at the cash register.

“They are wrong in not giving me a star rating,” Lai says. What is in noodles “My restaurant has thrived wherever I go. Noodles and company village crossing Back in North Point, our eatery was on a quiet street where few people go, but our presence created a lot of traffic. Noodles and company healthy Now in Kwun Tong, we are in a factory area far away from the MTR station. Noodles & company coupons In spite of the remote location, our shop still has 20 to 30 people queuing to get in.”