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Lovingpho.com Newsletter December 2015
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The Business of Pho Restaurant and Serving Pho
Dear phở restaurant operator:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We're right in the middle of the biggest holidays of the year. While the vast majority of people are taking time off for family, friends, travel and even shopping, pho operators like us are hard at work taking care of business.

This is the nature of the restaurant business. There's hardly any time off, and we signed up for it. So instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, let's be thankful that those having time off are going out and giving us their business.

So for this last pho newsletter of 2015, it's all about restaurant business. We'll focus on the business of restaurant operation to properly end 2015 and start 2016. The first item is a topic on how to deal with customer complaints and shares some best practices. The second bursts open the idea that you have to serve authentic food in order to do good business. Finally, in the third piece, I'll share some ideas based on results of a poll we've done.

Also I'm again including 2 Photos of the Month. Checking 'em out and enjoy.

Cuong Huynh

How To Counter Online Complaints

A Bad Review Is Forever: How to Counter Online ComplaintsMany restaurant owners don't do much about online reviews. Here's a good read on how to counter online complaints.

We all know online reviews are very important. But many pho restaurants don't do much about those reviews; or maybe don't know what to do. Here's a helpful read.

Good or bad reviews, my opinion is a pho restaurateur should be able to take advantage of these "free marketing opportunities" as much as possible. They're free marketing opportunities, that is, if you know how to use them.

For pho restaurateurs, especially those getting ready to open a new location, it's very important to spend extra time to train hard and be solidly prepared before opening. This is because, once you open, those low star reviews due to "still working out the bugs" syndrome will be there for a long time. It can take years with great efforts to counteract their effects in your overall rating. So it's better to spend some extra efforts upfront to not get those low stars to being with.

This article can help with some best practices to deal with bad reviews.

Read more... How To Counter Online Complaints

Two Guys Went Against Convetional Wisdom and Turn "Authentic" Food on Its Head

Why Shanghai's first American Chinese restaurant is taking offThis is about Chinese food, but it can well apply to any ethnic food, including Vietnamese.

BBC News had a piece on a couple of guys bringing American-style Chinese food back to China. What more, it's Shanghai, the hotbed of big city growth and a place with an abundance of everything, including stiff competition.

Egg foo young. Chicken chow mein. Hot and sour soup. Fortune cookies. Yes they sell well in America since the past century, or whenever the first Chinese were brought here to work on America's railroads. But they're not authentic Chinese to Chinese in China.

These two guys found that they can sell well in China too, IF certain things are done right.

So what has this got to do with Vietnamese food and pho? Well it's an interesting analogy where Chinese food went full circle, that it's been brought by the Chinese to America, and changed to fit American taste, then brought back to sell to the Chinese.

In today's economy and technology, it may not take 100 years for Viet food to follow a similar path. In fact some of us may already be doing it within and outside the Viet communities in North America, Australia and Europe.

The key is to do it right in the right market. I think the Shanghai Americanized Chinese food was done right, with a bit of guts, luck, and attention to detail ad quality. On the other hand what's done at Nudo Nudo with fried egg over pho is not necessarily good and sustainable. Time will tell.

Read more... Why Shanghai's first American Chinese restaurant is taking off
Read more... Nudo Nudo

What Pho Restaurants Can Learn From This Pho Poll:

What Pho Restaurants Can Learn From This Poll: Have you found your favorite pho restaurant(s)?Have you found your favorite pho restaurant(s)?

On Lovingpho.com, I have this running poll asking "Have you found your favorite pho restaurant(s)?"

Eighty percent of respondents say they have 1 to 3 pho restaurants they consider favorites.

About 5% say they're willing to give their business to 4 to 10 local pho restaurants.

And the last 15% say they're still searching.

If customers are saying either they have not found their favorite pho restaurant, or they're still looking and trying, then new pho entrepreneurs should take advantage of this. The market is basically telling you there's room for more good pho for that market. In this article I share some ideas and reasons for a new pho restaurant to successfully hit all the right notes.

Read more... What Pho Restaurants Can Learn From This Poll

Photo of the Month
martinlroberts proclaimed he just had the most amazing Vietnamese Beef Pho

martinlroberts Just had the most amazing Vietnamese Beef Pho

Martin's Instagram photo shows something we don't see much outside of Vietnam, or even in Vietnam anymore: Bone and marrow. It's "xí quách" to us Vietnamese.

This pho is served at The Little Viet Kitchen in London. London is currently one of the hottest places to open Vietnamese and pho restaurants, in case you're wondering.

While their branding is not one of my favorites; the design could be warmer, less European looking and be more inviting, in my opinion; The Little Viet Kitchen does keep a strong branding and marketing direction, and they keep things consistent. On the operation side, this restaurant does a lot of things right: quality, presentation, service and marketing. And they serve pho with xí quách.

By the way, when asked "What advice would you give someone trying to open their own place?", owner and Londoner Thuy Pham-Kelly answers:

Be prepared to work your bottom off! The amount of work involved is immense, far more than I ever imagined it would be. Most importantly though you have to fully believe in your vision and absolutely love what you do. Without that, I think I would have found it impossible get through the difficult days.

Wise words for pho restaurant newbies.

I love to have some xí quách right now. And if I have to nitpick, I'd save the mint for other Viet noodle dishes. But this is England, so it's understandable that they may not be able to get the right ingredients all the time or even at all.

Read more... on The Little Viet Kitchen.

Photo of the Month
Beautiful Illustrations From Award-Winning Vietnamese Children's Book 'The First Journey'

Inside Award-Winning Vietnamese Children's Book 'The First Journey'

There's no need to say much except to just look and enjoy.

See more Inside Award-Winning Vietnamese Children's Book 'The First Journey'.

Need cost-saving guidance to open a new pho restaurant?

Looking to increase profit at your existing pho restaurant?

Click HERE to learn how I can help your pho restaurant
My 100% Risk-FREE Satisfaction Guarantee

If you follow my advice, and you are not able to achieve the goals set out for your pho restaurant, then I will return your money or will work until your goals are accomplished with no additional fees.

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