Frank Liu was a local Taiwanese student who graduated from GMBA in 2013. After finishing High School in Taiwan, he went to Canada for his bachelor’s degree. When he came back, he joined his family business which is a logistic company, and worked there for 10 years. For he is becoming very knowledgeable with the logistic industry, he then quitted and started his own restaurant which he was totally unfamiliar with at that time. In less than 5 years, his restaurants not only gained a reputation but also awarded “the Plate Michelin” in the Michelin Guide!
1. Congratulations on being awarded “2017 Prestige 40 UNDER 40”! You have a family business that is a logistic company, you are very knowledgeable about this and even your thesis is about logistics. Why and when do you have an idea that you want to quit what you are familiar with and open your own restaurant?
I started working in my family business right after I got my bachelor’s degree, I was 22 at that time. During these 10 years of working, I went to many countries for meetings, conferences, presentations, etc. One day, when I deeply thought about continuing on a well-grown business and starting up my own business, I found out that the latter one is more interesting because it makes me more exciting and challenging. So, I decided to give myself a try, especially when I was still young. I knew that even if I fail, I still have time to gain experience and improve to be successful.
2. Many people who do not have an MBA degree still open their restaurant, why you think management skill is so important? What do you think your MBA degree contributed to your business?
Before I started my restaurant, I try to think about what kind of skills and/or knowledge I need to achieve success. At first, Management theories were like strangers to me, it is not essential for my past 10 years working in the stable family business. All I need was to follow the rules to get the job done. When following the rules becomes the key to success, the company ends up having good systems, and good management, but less flexibility and innovation. Since the world is changing very fast, I know that this is not the best way to run the company in the long term. So, I decided to join GMBA at that time, and hope to attain different management skills and tools through the program.
3. When consumers are being more demanding, it is becoming harder for servicing industry. Have you ever faced any “over-demanding” customers? Can you share a story with us?
To me, I think attitude is the key to determine your success. Try to understand why customers are demanding but not what they are demanding for, and you can learn a lot from them. I would like to share a story about a customer, MR. P, who paid 600K for his 300K meal.
Mr. P is a medical doctor and also a loyal customer of ours. One day he brought his friends to visit us as usual. That was a crowded evening and my colleague accidentally doubled his billing amount. At that moment, we both did not aware of the mistake but later at night, Mr. P texted me and asked me to double-check his bill, with neither anger nor blame. When I heard the billing amount, I knew this was obviously too high and I planned to personally visit him with my sincere apology. Out of my expectation, he said he lived nearby and just wanted to visit us the next day and collected his refund. I immediately advised my colleagues to prepare the fruit basket, cash refund, and also tips for that day for Mr. P.
The other day at noon, Mr. P came to our restaurant, but he did not ask for a refund. On the other hand, he gave us 2 bottles of wine and said,
“I know that was a busy evening and you may have made some mistakes, this was totally understandable. Just keep the money as a deposit for my next dinner here. Please don’t feel guilty for the miscalculation, and take the 2 bottles of wine to pacify any hard feelings you have.” He was talking in such a peaceful voice, without anger, and all of us were so touched by his generosity! In this story, we learned what is “Attitude determines altitude”, and the higher your altitude, the more generous you would be.
4. Monsieur L is for testing water, ORCHID is now realizing your dream of a high-end fine-dining restaurant, so, what’s next?
After graduated from GMBA, I was awarded the outstanding alumni award from Lih-Jen International Private School and the “40 Under 40” Young Entrepreneur award, consequently I was invited to give speeches and interviews. So, I took an opportunity to share the experiences of opening restaurants and promote the new projects to all the small and medium restaurants in Taiwan. My new project is an opening platform, gathering the world's top 100 chefs, so that those restaurants has the chance to communicate with the top chefs in the world. Also, I invited the top chefs to be my guest, including the chef of White Rabbit restaurant, which ranked 14th best restaurant in the world, and also the World Honorary Chef Award, Mr. Umberto Bombana, who is a Michelin 3-Star chef.
Moreover, I also try my best to promote local Taiwanese food ingredients. So far, I have held 3 cooking campaigns; Taiwanese seafood, Taiwanese vegetables and Taiwanese fruits. All these campaign were highly exposed in the news, even Michelin Guide also sent their journalists for these campaigns! Through these kinds of activities, we also helped to promote and sell our local Taiwanese farm products from small farmers. Through my platform, speeches and interviews, I really loved to share and promote the dining culture of Taiwan, which make Taiwanese food and ingredients be more visible and famous in the world!