Monday, June 15, 2020 - Dignified Hospitality - Chefs

Video Subtitles:

well hi John it's good to good to see
you good to talk with you good to catch
up with you
it's been a while Yeah right
he's been oh why don't we being confined
for for what almost three months now yes
to see each other yes right and in prior
to that three months you actually were
busy you were really busy you know you
had just launched your business here in
Vegas and so you know when you first
moved to Vegas I remember we we used to
spend a lot of time together we used to
dine together and you know just talking
about getting to know the food scene
here in Vegas together but I do remember
you know pretty much the whole last year
you've been so busy with your business
and what what have you been up to lately
well we have in my business you know I
used to live in Macau Hong Kong in in
Asia for about 10 years and during this
10 years I met a few entrepreneurs
wanted to develop their business in
America and more specifically in Las
Vegas it was at the time after 10 years
that I wanted to come back to America to
the States and bring my family over so
it was a good opportunity for me to have
actually a goal to open this business
this business was to sell to Casanova
telson restaurant some some I and
flatware and plates and glasses those
kind of things so I was working with a
company in Asia who's been on doing that
for about 30 years and so we decided to
meet last year to come in Las Vegas and
to develop this business and fortunately
with curry
19 and closing of all food and beverage
not only in Vegas but worldwide I had to
prove my is Ness so basically that's
what happened when more casualty I'm
sure there were tens of thousands of
businesses who are going to a closed or
maybe already closed incredibly
stressful turn around yes there is
sudden yeah you know sometimes you see
your business slowly declining and you
say well you know maybe six months 38
months they try to do this let's try to
do that to revive it but actually in
that instance it was instantaneous is
when one day to the next they closed
everything in not only here you know in
France Europe South America everywhere
so it was very sudden yeah well I'm
appreciative that you're here now
to talk with me about it because I've
been talking about this thing for for
four months now and you know it seems
that the the ominous you know closure
especially with in hospitality due to
restrictions on on being able to gather
in person but then you know ultimately
it comes down to the foundation of the
industry was built upon small margins
and kind of uncertainty and high risk so
the nature of these conversations that
I've been having every Monday is really
not to say over and over again these
things that we all know and are all kind
of having in the back of our mind rather
I like to use these conversations to
talk about paving the the path forward
so you know maybe the businesses aren't
going to survive but the people within
these businesses and their passion for
food will so what what kind of
thumbs and what kind of culture is going
to best support those people you know
and a future for food which we can't
ignore that like that's something that
can't shut down food can't shut down
because we have to eat still so how are
we going to eat and how are we going to
you know share hospitality with the
world yeah you know fortunately it is in
in our business the people who actually
are chefs pastry chefs solar year
waiters bartenders those people are full
of passions and most of them as you just
said are not necessarily doing that for
the money but they do it because they
have a true passion for what they do and
so even though it's a very tough time
and people are going to for the next
next year probably they're going to
suffer they will come back because of
this fire in them that will put them
forward to open new businesses and to
find ways out of it out of this crisis
so I'm pretty up for that if we can't
put fun if we can somehow control covet
19 I think things are going to come back
stronger than before you know you say it
comes back stronger than before do you
imagine it's going to be in the same way
like this kind of oversaturation of
hospitality providers or do you think
that there's going to be a a
restructuring of the industry itself
well I mean I don't know to be honest
hopefully it will be maybe more quality
oriented food and beverage that's you
I think now that you said it correctly I
think yet too many restaurant too many
bars too many of everything with a lot
of them closing maybe maybe now we can
come back and reset reset the landscape
with better quality restaurant and
better quality food and beverage overall
you know is I was in San Francisco last
Wednesday and I stayed there for three
days and I talked to a lot of my friends
who are rest of eternal anyway we were
talking to each other you know I open to
western San Francisco 15 years ago
they are still open to this day of
course now they are closed because the
cabbie threatening doubt went very well
and when I opened my restaurant in San
Francisco we had only 800 restaurant in
San Francisco three months ago just
before Kobe we had four thousand West
joined San Francisco Wow okay so
dressing fifty news to us restaurant
everybody with some my name is a dream
open a restaurant la something and not
not all of them were qualified to run
those places so it's almost a natural
selection you know copy 19 almost set
you know what too many of these too many
of that and maybe we are maybe going to
reset everything on a better footing but
that's my hope anyway yeah yeah that's
definitely my hope too but how is that
going to look when when you when you
look at like the workforce of those
4,000 restaurants in San Francisco alone
if there if there is going to be a reset
are are all of those those people
involved in that industry going to like
immediately find jobs again or are are
we going to see kind of research not
resurgence but
kind of an evolution of like smaller
scale entrepreneurship smaller scale
hospitality versus you know these these
large even chains two of of restaurants
and bars or whatnot that's that's kind
of the question that I'm curious about
yes I mean you know that's the real
tragedy right it's a human tragedy I
mean when you've been working a
restaurant for ten years and all of a
sudden you lose your job especially if
you're a little bit older is going to be
very tough to find the same position
elsewhere and that's really I mean once
again I really don't have any answer and
this is a tragedy my I feel I feel for
all those people who are losing culture
because I know that just in San
Francisco alone alone this year we are
going to lose 1,000 restaurant and I
went to visit some of those restaurant
last week someone some of those
restaurant where big names two years ago
some of those restaurant we just opened
six months ago and they're just going to
close it already so and for every
restaurant were closing it's 50 jobs 60
job you know and so and I don't know if
those people are going to to find
another position someplace else in the
near future
yeah yeah no you're right that that's
for sure that is something I think that
we can agree upon but I think something
else that we can we also did already
agree on is that those people are still
going to exist and their passion is
still going to exist yeah that's true so
so you know how how can we create the
systems to support them and empower them
I don't know yeah maybe we can we can
get that later in the conversation but I
did want to say that I had like my first
like fine dining out experience
kovin this past weekend I had some
friends from our friends but my family
from Los Angeles came here for the night
on Saturday night just to have a night
of entertainment because we've all been
cooped up as we went to the Mayfair
supper club how do you get a chance to
go there before before everything shut
down I did not I did not the chance to
go there but some friends of mine went
and they will very appear by their
experience they thought it was really a
lot of fun actually inbred food yeah
yeah so the food was great the drinks
were great you know just just one thing
on the cocktail you know I always like
to challenge servers whenever I in some
place especially you know something
higher value like that and I was able to
stop the the bartender on something but
the overall the food was great the
drinks were great the wine was great and
it was entertaining like there's a stage
and and there's performers and it was a
little awkward because the performers
were like wearing masks there were a
like sequence masks that matched their
dresses and stuff it was pretty funny
but I was really impressed by the
experience and it was it was a very
high-value experience you know the the
check was very high but my family at the
same time was like we haven't done
anything yeah they were so happy he's
like we haven't we haven't spent any
money on entertainment the past three
months we haven't done anything so this
was it and it was it felt like a very
safe experience a very safe night out
because you know we weren't like moving
you know bar to bar cocktail lounge
cocktail lounge in venue to venue like
how how the biggest strip you know a
night out usually is you know we were
able to go to one place we got our
entertainment we got her food we got her
beverage we were actually there for over
four hours well and it was great you
know and so I was like really impressed
by that and I really felt like maybe
that's a model you know that that could
be exciting for for fine dining is
figuring out additional value adds other
than just the food and the drink to
create a night out experience that you
know could
warrant you know a check that has a
higher value amount to support the
infrastructure you know for the business
that's true what will be interesting to
see as well after his cabin 19 prices if
that people are they going to go out as
often as they used to
I was talking to a friend of mine who's
an architect in San Francisco and is not
too 10 entertaining clients and himself
I should be well so he goes out all the
time and I know him for a long time used
to come to my place in San Francisco to
my restaurant in San Francisco three
times a week
and I was so intrigued this week and I
said are you going to go out as much and
he said no I just discovered a new way
you know I put more I go to the farmers
market I buy my food I go boom I'm
looking forward to making a small meal
and there so and I also realized it's
quite fact to that I'm selling a lot of
money so I think there's a lot of truth
to that you know which which is going to
you know support how we get our food but
I still think maybe now there's still
some novelty to that I think you know by
by next year by two years from now maybe
people will be a little bit tired of
cooking every meal for themselves of
course so you know and but the frugality
piece of it is probably still going to
remain important for for most penis yes
I think people also realize how fragile
fragile of society is you know that
everything from one day to the next can
stop you know and that's not a good
feeling you know you know we're talking
earlier about those people who are
losing their job and of course we are
focusing our thought on the on the
shelves and sous-chef and waiters and
etc but we are
so after things of all the farmers in
America and all the people who work
showed him another friend of mine again
in San Francisco and have been there for
I eat in San Francisco for Tommy's I
know a lot of people so one of my friend
is distribute your food distributor in
San Francisco and he's telling me he has
job only for two days so it may be
further Westra or the few restaurant egg
out on Monday and on Friday and he said
in-betweener address there is no need
for me to to iron or driver to do all
that so there is a lot of people
impacted not directly the chefs and
Hunter and the pastry chefs in here and
the enemy for the Pecos industry
yeah what's-his-face Tom Colicchio did
you yeah he was he was on a show and he
threw out the figure 20 million people
as the whole value chain from the farm
to the restaurant
20 million people so yeah you need that
that's a lot of people how does an
addressable population of people and
again most of which have passions yes
and also most of which are coming from
marginalized you know minority
communities as well you're right
absolutely so you know that's very
relevant to other things that are going
on right now and I think that it is
appropriate to mention that and
empowering that community and empowering
our food system we were actually
addressing you know some very deeply
rooted issues you know that are causing
protests and and and a lot of
uncomfortable conversations right now so
you have 20 million people it's a lot of
people you know and then some other
stats I've read online is 40% I mean
some people even say something like 70%
of restaurants won't open again that may
be as much yeah that's much but I
forty percent it could be could be
accurate like I said you know some
Francisco about the thousand will not be
open that we know of so I'm sure that
more people are going and every day I
mean newspaper every day you can see and
this restaurant will not reopen after
thirty years being in business you know
and so yeah it's it salami yeah I was in
a cup of tea no in California last week
Friday and I went to a place where
actually there is is right near the
Apple campus and there is a lot of
restaurant there all of the oldest
restaurant we open actually open for
takeout and also the terrace was open
they will open so depending also on the
location of your restaurant and where
you are maybe a better lunch to restart
your business I want to ask question
about about chefs in particular and and
this is something that that you can
answer from your experience prior to
pandemic what was the the condition of
empowerment and dignity for the chef
within the restaurant industry
right so maybe let me give a little more
context to help you with the question
when I had like bartender and server
come talk with me the the thing that we
came to conclusion of is that there's
not a whole lot of dignity in the career
of service
maybe chefs have some dignity like there
is some kind of celebrity you know kind
of around you know chefs that make a
name for themselves and make a brand for
themselves but like even around that
celebrity how is the dignity itself like
art are these like chefs like sometimes
as a consumer as a foodie we think oh
the chef is like the owner of the
business the chef gets to make all the
shots is that the reality or you know
like how like the business like are
there usually other investors that
the power or how is that generally you
know it is you know dr. opener a strong
let's say you want to open from scratch
96 restaurant which is a it's not be
it's not small isn't between 90 seat
restaurant will go to about two million
dollars so if you are chef okay and you
are ill you're talented and you want to
do things you want to open you one place
you need to turn to invest you need to
seek investors okay and those investors
who believes in you will open will open
a restaurant for you and after that you
just go over there and walk of course
that we tell you they will give you some
conditions and they will tell you what
they like Candace and that you know but
to come back the dignity of it
I think our profession I mean what I
could see because I know so many so many
chefs went to so many restaurant I mean
people are well treated overall I mean
you know I don't know if this is the
answer you wanted me to to say oh if the
question I answer your question
correctly but I mean I think you know
when you go to a good restaurant I mean
you know you can see the who most of
them open kitchen anyway so you can see
them walking in a very clean environment
and then went we didn't very well
respected I know that for my part you
know I always respected my in my crews
and when I had you know yet to Esther in
the Bay Area I an older than 50
employees and I love those guys maybe
there are like families to you you know
because you understand well what can an
you are you have you can you sell what
you share from TV and everything if you
don't have a great crew behind you to
support you learn the where yeah you
know so I mean I guess what I'm what I
was you know trying to get at is do you
ever hear of stories I'm sure that
there's successful stories with like
great investors that are empowered
empowering and on the same page and
growing together but yes the
there also should be stories on the
other side of the spectrum where the
investors put too much pressure on the
chef where the chef can't treat their
crew well and can't you know are kind of
like stuck in a in a situation where
they they ultimately create those toxic
work environments that we hear about you
know and back-of-house yeah I think yeah
I mean investors by definitions of
people who wants to invest and make
money and we never return okay and the
largest return the a bit up here there
yeah so that's why when I always said to
if I meet an investor and the guys say
we left to open a restaurant with you
okay I would tell I will talk about the
concept that I want to put together but
also I will tell him and tell him and
tell him again
that the profit no restaurant business
if you run a good restaurant is between
eight thousand to thirteen thousand that
will depends on the type of concept you
have and and that happened not too long
ago and a couple of months ago I was
talking casually with a friend and I
said you know like I said the to to to
her I said you know the profit is
basically between eight and thirteen
most likely nine and ten you said that's
all yes
what were you expecting maybe she
suppose a lesson no never so if you
really upfront with the new investor and
say this is you're going to have press t
if you open a good restaurant you will
involve in that restaurant as an
investor you going to have prestige is
great to bring your friends to business
associate to your own place and have a
great meal you can shine you know but
the the return on money is 10% and
sometimes less yeah yeah those are good
numbers for investors so you know it's
it's good if you if you're forward if
you're you know you're upfront with the
investors about this and if they truly
you know have the patch
just as much as the chef has then it'll
work out but I would think that there's
probably a lot of investors that exploit
their power because there's that power
dynamic and this doesn't just happen in
the restaurant industry it happens also
in the tech industry you know with
venture capitalists that's the
experience that I have with investors is
that there's this expectation and then
if you don't meet that expectation it's
very easy for them to dismiss you and
and and and and you know want to take
over and do it better themselves
thinking they can do it better
themselves so I'd imagine that that
happens a lot in restaurants you know
you see for example evening visitors
spend two million dollars physicians
okay and the return on investment is not
as loud just by swapping for okay you
can try to put pressure what can add
pressure can be put on a shelf telling
to whittle the potions increase the
it's very dicey because you know you
never know if you increase the prices
but then to use some some of your
clients going to say you too expensive
you know so yes to play this game very
carefully and at the very end you know
you know no more economy let's say that
the investors put too much pressure on
the shed and the chef's decide to leave
and to seek another job doing this
nursing trouble is investment in is in
trouble you know and in San Jose in
California I mean six or seven years ago
a friend of mine opened a restaurant a
restaurant happened to be very
it was meeting you know restaurant in
watershed from Italy and he got one star
Michelin okay great
so the chef naturally went to see the
investors and said you know what I just
bought you a star now the restaurants
food for lunch and dinner I would like
to make more money okay or maybe even
become a partner and and the investor
says sorry you know I just tried to play
a dirty game with the guide the gala if
the chef left and now the restaurants
closed so you see
don't they stuff sometimes do not solve
that they may think they know or they
may think they have more power but you
know the people in the kitchen our
people in the front of the house
they're also equally as much power and I
do believe that when you're building a
team you're opening a restaurant you're
building building a team you know you're
choosing carefully your chefs your sous
chefs your pastry chef the server year
the US this is the whole gang right
after a few months working with them the
big debut that he came you they become
your family those people are your family
you want to take care of them you know
and you know if you take care of them
well they will also take care of you and
it's a win-win situation you know I
could not walk in a restaurant when
people are fighting people are happy
with each other you know I mean know
that I want to talk to me about about my
own experience too much but in San
Francisco I open a restaurant 20 years
ago and this first one is to still open
today you know last week one of my head
a friend called me just to say hello you
know he said how are you doing you know
you know just so I keep track actually a
duty truck with all my ex-employees you
know I'm very happy here that one of my
sous chef opened a very successful
restaurant Sunny Deol in California
that's just something that you just keep
track of because they become the family
yeah so I mean imagine this imagine if
opening a restaurant actually only costs
two hundred thousand dollars instead of
two million dollars huh how different
that situation would be how much more
empowering that situation would be for a
chef to to be able to do things a bit
more autonomously
versus having to find the right investor
and you know that those are kind of the
ideas that I like to bring to the table
in this conversation versus you know
working in the same conditions and it
it's gonna have to be different you know
maybe Real Estate's going to be
different you know the experience is
gonna be different I will tell you if a
chef - they lose his job okay
because have it 19 if the guy is good
there is so many restaurant will not
reopen so many restaurant the guy even
if he doesn't have a lot of money can
probably talk to his family like all of
us did before
family friends you know and try to put a
little bit of a little bit of money and
invested in a restaurant I actually
visited some restaurant last week in
California I went to Napa went to
different places and they've turnkey
they are absolutely turnkey operation
with equipment you know you just give
them and now they are waiting to walk
with you you know so of course you need
some money need some some walking
capital or I mean you need to buy the
the wine and ice and those kind of
things obviously but nevertheless it's
it's a great opportunity out there for
people who just lost their job you know
I know it's crazy to say you know and
maybe the heater guys just enjoy can
come up with $200,000 but actually
actually they $200,000 you may find may
find that kind of the money and you may
find people who will be we believe in
you and will back you up to stone $1,000
at all is not that much and you can find
a lot of restaurant chunky operation
prediction that you have for a lot of
the restaurant industry is gonna go a
lot of talent is going to kind of
bootstrap new things like this I think
so I mean you know if you're talented
shit you know you don't want to just
what are you going to be you're still
going to be a talented talented chef
next month or the month after right and
what you want to do you want to cook
those people are very resourceful they
will find a way to open a place to open
a restaurant
and once again I mean you know all the
restaurant who are going to close the
the landlords will be ready to make a
again I'm not I'm not saying that you're
going to get there for is $10,000 but we
swallow thousand yeah you can get there
we can open a restaurant for $12,000 so
many out there are closing yeah that's a
good point
what about like personal chef like that
you know that area do you think that
there's gonna be some growth of those
opportunities as well so chefs walking
for movie stars or very wealthy people
yeah well I mean yeah I mean I'm not
sure that that's going to change that
much because there is a huge market out
there I have some of my friends who are
working in New York so very with wealthy
people in anthems when a fennel in
particular I've been working for the
same family for 15 years so those jobs
exist and they are very well-paid and of
course this is an avenue that some
people wants to explore absolutely yeah
I just think it might be if people are
spending more time at home and not
feeling as confident you know going out
in public
yeah there may be an increased demand
for for personal chefs and and for those
kinds of services or you know hosting
more dinner parties in home yes
absolutely yeah absolutely I mean you
know it will not just too much money or
maybe even even close to less money
actually - I / chef - come to you outs
and to cook for an evening for six or
eight people you know and to have a
fantastic evening at your own house
especially if you have a beautiful house
in Las Vegas and Eileen your chef will
not cost you that much money and it's
going to be fun it's going to be a
different way of doing it what are they
like what are the legalities around that
like permitting you know well for an
evening I mean you know if you if you
bring the neighbor and asking goodbye
yeah I mean the legality is the same as
you bring a chef in Los basically you
know there is not that
I mean the guy's not going to make so
much money that evening that he has to
report it to the IRS at least I don't
think so I think it's perfect in Egypt
in this day and age you know and and
Megan it is perfectly fine don't think
there is any problem with that that's
good to know because I know like even if
you want to like like for instance here
if I wanted to start serving some food I
you know I would need to get a whole
bunch of other equipment and and
different permitting and licensing to do
that so it's kind of cool that this
whole personal chef movements could you
know could be a lower risk lower
investment opportunity for for chef to
continue you know making good quality
food yeah I mean yeah but it's usually a
one-time thing I mean you know it's
funny some people can make it living it
can make your living out of it obviously
but I mean if every chefs who just lost
their job just go into personal chef in
analysis and that's going does not get
into a theater I think my personal
recommendation is to seek out some
opportunity out there and even if you
don't have money there is you will find
people who will be more than happy to
give you some money to start your own
business and to become a partner I think
that's the way to do it yeah yeah that's
a great idea so then my next question is
that so like let's say a chef does do
that they they put together some funds
and and more than likely the majority
those funds are gonna be reserved as
like operating capital for rents and fur
so so there probably will be a culture
for gala tea even among find I mean like
what are some things you're a priority
list of like the top things that chefs
are going to keep and and will continue
to prioritize as far as ingredients
and you know they're not going to skimp
on quality of certain things versus you
know lower on the list the things that
are gonna be more more prone to to be
left out but that's a different that's a
difficult question it is I think a good
chef we love what he's doing
we always go for quality ingredients if
I had to open a restaurant today I will
I will reach out to farmers personally I
will try to to go visit the farm try to
try to have a relationship with them
because I mean we need to support those
people and in terms of quality
ingredients those people are you know
the one can provide you with with really
high quality ingredients you know very
often and I mean in Napa for example you
know there is a obviously a lot of
farmers when a chef's make a menu for
the week I said that the Delta is going
to put ten special you know be to two
special per day different special is
calling actually the farmers what do you
have coming you know I think this is the
way we need to walk you know I don't
know I'm not answering your question
completely in terms of quality I think
this is really I don't think because you
open your own restaurant on the contrary
you know no contrary if you open your
own restaurant and you have been
investors who have with you as a partner
you know he wants you to shine and you
want this restaurant to offer the best
quality possible so I think I think it's
there is no I mean there is not China
chance because they open a restaurant
that is going to just lower the question
I'm not quite sure in this event I'm not
sure I understand you you I'm not sure I
answer your question correctly on this
one okay it's a hard question you know
and I think it's already a trend
and definitely you can read about it
like that that's kind of what the the
talk of of the chef rolled is right now
of this simple item simplicity
simplicity in the menu so you know that
that they can hone in on good quality
products but their supply chain can be
more streamlined and and less risky so
instead of having these vast menus that
require an inventory of a bunch of high
quality ingredients kind of limiting
that list of ingredients to focus on you
know a shorter list of high quality
yeah so it's a simplifying the menu so
yeah I was just like wondering from your
experience working with chefs being a
chef yourself yeah like what are some
things that that chefs like always
prioritize like I'm not gonna compromise
on this is it wine or is it meets or is
it you know and I definitely know tea is
on the lower side of that list I know
that but yeah that was that was my
question maybe rephrasing it that way it
can help you a little bit yeah I mean
definitely I mean I think two
ingredients in general but yeah meat
fish or vegetable vegetables you know if
you work with vegetables in season
they're less expensive so sometimes you
go to see more news and you add you have
something on tomato for example in the
midst of the winter I never understood
that you know so if you I think chefs
knows that they know those kind of
things you know they'll just very very
agile in their mind in order to create
menus in order to use the best quality
possible-- the best ingredients we not
necessarily the most expensive one I
think that something is going to go is
the most expensive ingredients but I
think people are going to be to our
benefit I think people are going to be a
bit of cautious about spending money in
restaurant so I think for
all those restaurant reopening the value
will be very important okay and before
you could maybe spend a lot of money on
dinner but people now we are going to be
a little precocious and I've been
talking to a friend of mine who actually
is fairly wealthy and he told me that he
was he was going to in the future looked
at it a bit more carefully look at the
expenses more carefully so if you can
open a restaurant offer great value
great food at a good price still making
a good eating
I think that's the key yeah so there's
two ways that you can you can address
that one of them is to be more frugal
and in your sourcing and and and making
your offerings more approachable and
more affordable or increasing the value
so like the the case with like Mayfair
you know like the bill was very high but
the the the value perceived value of
that experience was much more than just
the food of the drink it was like a
whole you know going out entertainment
package and so yeah I think that that
could be a way of addressing that's
that's interesting even wealthy even the
very wealthy people are are you know
adopting a culture of frugality in some
sense they do because you know for the
past three months there be not own
record overs you know and they realize
that have been spending at they've been
spending a lot of money on attaining
before the curve in 19 so now for those
three months they realize how much money
they've been saving because they don't
have any choice and in some cases it's
very substantial so I think they're
going to look at it in a different way
now but once again that doesn't mean
they're not going to go out as often but
just going to be a bit more frugal I
think that's that's the thing so for a
restaurant to be successful I think they
should open they should offer some great
food interesting food different
but also be mindful of the value so is
this advice that you would give to
restaurant owners across the entire
spectrum from you know like fast casual
- you know Michelin star dining or is is
this advice for a specific segment of
the industry no I think it's a segment
for the owner the street actually you
know I mean days the Michelin star chefs
they do they are the prestige okay it's
if your restaurant is two-star Michelin
and you and your clients expect to have
expensive ingredients you know so maybe
those people are less sensitive but I
mean for chef in a two-star nation is
very difficult not to offer expensive
ingredients like a foie gras caviar you
know those that's what people expect but
you know what sometimes if you don't put
okay if you don't put a dollop of caviar
on top of the fish it's okay to and that
will fit the price by thirty bucks yeah
of the dish so I think you know people
meant mindfully understand also the
chef's food actually another example a
friend of mine as one of the best
restaurant in New York is a three-star
Michelin and is wondering as of three
weeks ago if he was going to be open
because he said on in my trice point you
know he doesn't want to lower the
quality and he actually without lowering
the quality it just wants what image
still wants to play with very expensive
ingredients so he was just saying you
know I'm not sure I'm going to be open
because if I cannot use them within that
I love to use we're extremely expensive
you know maybe it's not worth it the
second thing that's also people tend to
tend to forget a little bit
when you close the restaurant for three
months okay so basically you we open a
restaurant from scratch even for a small
restaurant I'd say once again $15.99 a
seat restaurant you need to put some
money you know for trading you know you
do have to rebuy all the food everything
is twenty thousand US dollars so that's
how a small restaurant now if you're the
twist understand New York it can do is
much higher than that
and not everyone has the cash flow to do
it so also that's why people just give
up on their restaurant they said I'm
sorry but I will not have forty sixty
thousand dollars to reopen my restaurant
and also the third point is a lot of
people as we know it is and I had
configuration of that in San Francisco
this week when people want to to reopen
their restaurant actually their staff
they don't find a stance anymore
now they don't find their coach so some
of them have been working is the same
the same crew for eight years
another the Sun those people disappear
on them so for all those reasons
sometimes you know this just say well if
I can't work with all my crew you know
mine does where they not have the energy
to meet trend if we take it takes so
long to train a crew so Ledger's decided
to just decide to to just close the
restaurant roll you know and so we have
so people are going to open restaurants
so many Christians and so many
challenges like that they're going to
need to face and also we don't know if
people are actually going to go back
come back to restaurant now of course
you got to look at restaurant they're
busy I mean you know people are tired of
being home so they want to go out they
wanna drink in this and that but in
three months owing for months are they
speaking out yeah he has or more
restaurants open up so then there's more
places you know that'll to go cuz right
now it is kind of limited like I went to
the Bellagio
for the the Mayfair supper club and
it was packed I couldn't believe it the
Bellagio was friggin packed and no one
wearing masks there was very little
opportunity for social distancing so man
I think that was just a factor of like
there's a limited number of casinos that
are open on the strip so you know so the
Bellagio may be doing good business now
but once the whole strip opens you know
the business will be diluted yeah you
know to a degree and then also to see
please well you know I read in Mecca in
Asia for for few years Macau is a place
where people comes only for gambling
they are amazing my strongest ambition
also but the Chinese they don't go to
those places you know they just go they
come to Macau to gamble here is a
different ballgame here in Las Vegas
people come for shows they come for
clubs you know like åkesson they they
come from different it's more the
offering is not identified but so I'm
not sure if people are sure they are
going to to want to come back to Las
Vegas just go to a restaurant if you
don't ever show you know sometimes you
go to Vegas because you wanna cheer sure
you know a lot of people don't gamble
but I mean I hope I'm completely wrong
and people are going to come and that's
going to be fine but for me personally I
will never go to a place where I cannot
really have a great meal which you said
that you you had yesterday which is
great but to me when I used to come to
Vegas now I live in that yes the when I
used to come to the guys from San
Francisco I used to go to social I used
to go to a club I love that with my
friends were always clubs and everything
but now there is no and the club song
this is going to be complicated for them
to be open anytime soon
and the biggest the biggest business
center or the business model of Las
Vegas is been it's been built
wrong convention convention brings money
to Vegas and without to mention we are
going to have issues and I'm not even
sure that although is joining you know
maybe Bellagio of course they may open
all the restaurant but I know other yeah
yeah it's a challenge and some of these
restaurants just opened
I remember I dined out at the slanted
door you know right before their grand
opening and then Kogut happened and what
a nightmare it's a disaster for for the
owner of cyanide or it's a complete
first of all they were very late they
could not get their permit I mean it
took them at least almost a year or at
least eight months mode and just been
scared the opening schedule and now have
in nineteen strike probably what two
weeks after they open I think lesser
than their an opening I went two weeks
before but that was that was like soft
opening I went with chef Jeanine she had
gotten an invite there's yeah so I gotta
go down there before they had even
opened and I had a friend that was a
pastry chef there and she has no
prospect of going back to work that's
double yeah I ate three of that just so
it's really sad it's really sad and also
we don't we should also talk about the
people who actually out the backbone of
most of restaurant we shoved the Latinos
you know and those people for not all of
them of course but you know a fraction
of them don't have don't have the right
papers to watch but nevertheless they've
been they've been walking they've been
fine my job like this is something that
happened in America for well for for at
least one good year you know in San
Francisco I mean most of my kitchen
where Latinos and they were amazing you
know so when the those people lose their
job and their family and they cannot go
right in employment I don't know what
those people are going to do I have no
idea how grateful already yeah
you know it'd be interesting to hear
some of those stories cuz yeah I mean I
don't I don't hear about them I can just
only you know imagine and wonder what
people are going through I do hear the
stories of my friends that work in
service and they in the beginning there
was a lot of stress and uncertainty Oh
unemployment is not working for me this
thing is not working but then maybe like
a month or so in it's set in for them
and and then when we start reopening and
their their jobs are getting called back
you know like they're they're not so
excited about going back a lot of them
are getting lower pay offer than what
they had before just because the
restaurant you know is anticipating
lower traffic and you know higher
resources required so yeah they don't
want to they don't want to go back to
that and and then also it additionally
something I've heard is that a lot of
the work environments have become quite
toxic just because management is under
so much pressure you know that it's
really difficult for them to maintain
that like friends friendly family like
you know work environment for the crew
and then turnover - so like you have
these crews where it's like a lot of new
people and addition to the people that
were there before and so you know
rebuilding that culture and everything
is has been a challenge okay so
something I want to ask about you know I
talked about this when we met you know a
few weeks ago for dinner which yeah
thank you again for having me over that
was a very special experience I wake up
I've been waiting years to taste your
food but you know you know my my
enthusiasm around around like very
casual food preparation
such as foods that street food you know
it doesn't necessarily have to be street
food but street food is a very good
example of this like very very casual
very fast you know like do you think
that there there is an opportunity of
even like high prestige talent you know
to find a place within that kind of food
preparation and you know I like to pull
from the the movement and like Singapore
where a street food vendor you know was
was given a first Michelin star do you
think that there is any any hope for
opportunity for that here in the States
I think so I do believe so you you're
talking about the food truck for example
not even food truck so food truck is I
mean I've heard numbers that you know
food truck you would you would need you
know at least 250,000 to get a food
truck up and rolling I'm talking about
something even more casual than that I
mean even operating out of a hole like
there's no I could do not and you can
ask my mom about this the best meal that
we ever enjoyed was in like a ranch
shack little like house in in st. John
just outside of st. John in Antigua
which is you know that's that's
something that we have that that
connection that we both you know lived
in Antigua it was just out of this Rasta
man's house and he was like drying fish
and making these like beautiful meals
and you just come into his house and sit
down and have a meal you know is like
very affordable he was very happy he was
getting paid more than enough and yes
that maybe that's you know even some of
the the level of street food that I'm
really enthusiastic about you know these
happen here I mean I think that's
something you can do is if you're a
talented chef and you can do that for a
limited period of time the true action
will be to open your own place even
though I have a friend of mine in
Oakland in California who's been cooking
for measles
he loves to cook and he's just doing it
you sweat on Friday and Saturday just
for neighbor and then he throws but now
he's averaging about 60 people so not
just to go food obviously and people
called him and said was the worst dish
of the day and say okay this is what I'm
sorry and between 60 and 80 now go go
because people were confined in the book
and that was a perfect way to just come
out just get your meal for the night and
it will everything can walk if you offer
good quality stuff everything why not
cool if he has a nice or not nice or but
I mean that's really quick you know if
you can do something everybody does
actually know why not why not
I mean you know just something that you
can do for too few months maybe but the
main focus would be to find investors to
open your own place yeah there is a lot
of people and wants to open restaurant a
lot of people will be willing to give
you money to open your own yeah it's a
very good point you know that businesses
are gonna be turnkey opportunities for
yes that was something that I didn't
know I was absolutely
I was shocked actually you know to see
the quality of restaurant well on the
market now you know it was just
mind-boggling and we went to visit
Japanese restaurant will open about six
months ago at market in San Francisco
and this restaurant is spend a million
US dollars into the to the restaurant to
this restaurant and the owners not
wished we open up talked of it so
basically they will open for six
by new he's on the market he's on the
market now I mean just you know just you
know small deposit and Elena yeah let's
do it John let's go open a restaurant
John I want to introduce you to my
friend Joe he just joined us he's uh
he's one of our partners that works in
South Dakota
yeah I drove doing well except for
outside it's not cool outside John I
think we're gonna hit a hundred in okay
so Joe how how was everything in South
Dakota I know you guys like kind of
never even really had a lockdown per se
and you know started opening up for
sooner how is the climate there with all
the the restaurants you work with well
you know that the governor never really
she got some flack for it but she never
really instituted anything on like
mandatory and kind of left it in the
hands business for the most part and so
you see more of the corporate larger
scale businesses with owners coming from
other places instituting cities you know
or Walmart trip down there overnight
shift and you know they're only letting
people in and out of one door you know
that kind of stuff everybody you know
the masks aren't required but there's a
big sign that says please wear a mask
when you can isn't that kind of thing um
but then there's a lot of the local
businesses that have just taken it a
little bit less intensively so but as
far as closures ago I was actually going
to bring that up notes on your
I love what you guys were talking but um
the closures I find depend on the
location and the amount of excess that
certain places have so you know in Las
Vegas there is just an abundance of
excess there are you know organs San
Francisco like you were talking about
you know there is a lot of everything
where is it when you come from a place
like I do there isn't a whole lot of fat
to trim off anyway so most of the places
here survive as far as I know fairly
well-informed about our local area but
one restaurant that I know of
was gonna close down permanently they
announced it and everything and then a
couple weeks later they were like hey
never mind basically not around here
anyway you know not in the western half
but most of the businesses around here
um have been able to supplement with you
know curbside and drive-thru and things
like that and it's a small community so
we tend to support each other
I think seventy or eighty percent of the
businesses just in the town that I live
in in Spearfish are locally owned um so
you find that the local community is
still supporting these places as much as
they can and so these places have had to
adapt and change and then can go back to
some sort of normalcy you know but but
nobody has really closed we're starting
to get back at things you know the
farmers markets are opening up and you
know things like that so so it
definitely hasn't hit us like it has
these big metropolis but I feel like
that's just simply because there is so
much excess and that's what this thing
has that's what this whole entire deal
has been attacking is is all that all
that extra fat you know in America is
pretty fat so I can see
we have a problem with overconsumption
and things like that you know and this
has really put that into perspective
like how much extra we have I think
things you know it's kind of shifting to
it to people valuing quality over
quantity more you know it's gonna take
some time I think that's the slowly the
direction that we're headed no with your
ear clients that are reopened and you're
you know distributing product to them
again have you noticed any change and
and their demands or and they're they're
purchasing then the prior to pandemic um
it's kind of split we have some clients
that have really kind of just dropped
off the map for a little while and I
think they're waiting to really get back
at it when there is no when there's not
as much a hassle you know there's
there's the people who are ready to like
do whatever they can to get open along
every step of the way you know and then
there's other people that are just like
we're just gonna hang out and when
things level out then we'll come back
full force you know so it's kind of
split down the middle with our clients
but as far as demand goes I do think
there is consistently and I'm working in
real small margins here so yeah but
there is consistently more and more
demand for higher quality products
I mean assistant it's fairly consistent
and it has been no even before coated
this just kind of accelerated that
process yeah people are looking for
better stuff because you go on any
street corner and find a cheap crappy
meal you know or uh you know just like
something something very just generic
and not with not a whole lot of love
that that love and that and that pride
put into the into the stuff that they're
consuming that they're you know the
entertainment that they're having all
that I love that that's when that's why
I'm here if I'm in this business
me saying that you were having some some
concerns around value and communicating
your value I'd look to secure like more
what what you were asking in regards to
that well this is something I struggled
with for a long time is is is you know
the overall concept in the you know the
particular aspects are pricing you know
how do you value how do you value your
product how do you decide what your
product is worth um not simply based on
just arbitrary numbers I feel like there
should be more meaning there and really
the only concrete variables that I have
are like cost of good people are
charging and things like that and
there's such a wide range of factors
they're it's really hard to decide you
know how much do I charge my wholesalers
for both T and then on the other side I
don't how much do I charge for my retail
product we're in a little bit of every
type of business you know and how much
do I charge for my services in my time
you know like workshops and tastings and
things like that
um again it seems like I'm just throwing
numbers out there
I never really feel confident in uh in
in in the numbers that I'm putting out
there so it's just been it's been a
difficulty for me since day one because
he's worked on both sides right he's
most of his experience as being a chef
and building brands and building menus
and building crews and whatnot oh he's
back oh he got his teeth so yeah John
like what is your you know if you could
provide some feedback because even on
both sides of the spectrum from you know
being a chef and being the buyer to
being the vendor especially a vendor of
someone providing such high value
product I mean your company was probably
the top top of the line right so how do
you value your services in your product
as a whole well it's really difficult
actually you know
and difficult - I think there is a trust
that you that you have to if you cry and
trust you - really - really
mean sell a very good product I quality
ingredients they will pay anything
anything you want them to pay with us
without asking any questions
right and that's it's really it takes it
takes a long time to develop the trust
with your parents I think when you have
it you know it's you're basically out
free but it takes a long time and also a
lot of communication because people
let's take tea for example people have
no clue about see I mean you know that's
rosada you know because this is such an
amazing beverage and we all know the way
it works in China you know we all went
those tea gardens you know in China and
look at those people without slaving you
know every day you know and working so
hard with so so much pride to offer us
an amazing product and people don't even
look at it
good people refuse to pay the right
price for them for this product
how can we transmit this dispassion and
to do to the people who are going to buy
the product right so I mean a reason for
yourself as well of doing a great job
those shows you know you have pictures
you know you can say this I went to you
then I went to different places in China
you know this is what I see you know and
you can elevate the value of your harder
that way by communicating because people
don't know you have to assume that even
if people say oh yeah I know T yeah yeah
Tunis it's my favorite I really like
people who could help actually the rest
later out the restaurant because the
restaurant could actually be a good
relay between you and the consumer and
but the problem that we are facing in a
restaurant business is that pit there is
not a man for good
unfortunately so of course you can force
it on the throat of your appliance you
said this is what I have I have two
sixties and that's it you know it is the
price why the people are going to so
expensive so you know after that you
have the sommelier we have two waiter
who hopefully share a certain passion
for your product for the tea
who is going to just put a good word in
to the product and try to sell it to the
customer and say yes it is expensive but
imagine how difficult it is to get those
teas you know and but I need so I think
restaurant will be with the people that
we need to operate in order to push off
for it forward because in terms they
will talk to their clients they will
talk to the customer and that we just
explain to them our because you know you
don't really you meet you meet people
but you don't meet necessary necessarily
the clients right yeah meeting on top of
that we have volume in a restaurant you
can touch the restaurant you can touch
other than 50 to 200 people a day
you know so it's I know Eddie's doesn't
really care to go to restaurant to meet
and to meet necessarily the people who
walks in a restaurant but I think it is
you will be wonderful doing it you will
be right just just sharing a passion
with somebody and the waiters you know
people love love wine
for example the waiter
the waiters they love to sell wine you
know and when they talk about it you
know for most popular they know what
they're saying
and the same thing should happen with
people well we and we've made that kind
of a priority for the sake of the tea we
find it disrespectful to the tea itself
if the people serving it don't know how
to brew it that's a thing for us so we
always offer our services - can we come
in and train your staff can we can we
have a day with your staff or a couple
hours at the end of shift during your
split shift or whatever I'm one of your
close days to bring in the majority of
your staff and we all sit down and my
partner lay everything out and talk to
you about it you know instill some of
our passion and our respect for the tea
into use that you take more seriously
you know what you're talking about when
you're talking to your clients and we
try and make that a priority
unfortunately not every restaurant is
like that and some of them are you know
I'm not the kind of restaurant that's
true that's true try you know we
definitely want we want to make that
bond with their employees just as much
as we do with their owners so then when
we come in to drop tea off they're like
oh yeah generally been even if I'm not
talking to the owner they know who I am
they know what something's really well
in the restaurant business you know if
you're really busy in your dining room
you know and your church people are
waiting you have to kill the table and
everything the last thing you want to do
is to is to sell a cup of tea that
you're going to need sometimes to brew
correctly okay and to nurture this unity
in a way that should be nurture right
and tell your friend the way Thursday
not at that time they want to turn the
tables the next people right
so if you have 12 people waiting you
know so the weather a basic you rushing
to be to the track take you out of the
place and sit the next six people so the
last thing they want is to spend the
next 120 minutes you know talking about
the tea because it's the last thing that
basically has been served in a
restaurant coffee of tea and people
wants to get you out and to reset the
table and to get to the next customer
and this is something that's complicated
and also what I find out as an operator
as a restaurant creator you know if you
sell tea and you have a nice selection
of tea you also need to have some teapot
obviously most likely ceramic teapot and
a lot of curves and those things are
difficult to stir you know the place you
can stack the plate up teapot you cannot
start gonna you know you have to put
them on the shelves if you have 30
teapot that's a lot of space now if you
have some 60 or 70 tcode that's a lot of
space so people look at everything and
say when you add these are the exact
intricacies that we run into every if I
tell them hey you gotta let this tea
brew for five minutes or three minutes
or whatever something like oh wow really
like before I can serve it to the
customer and I'm like well yeah we're
you're gonna have to tell your customer
hey wait for a few minutes to let that
do its thing you know that kind of stuff
them and they're like oh I need to be
able to pour the tea out of a tap you
know just the experience of you know
that's right but you see I was a year
and a half ago
and I did some consulting for restaurant
was a French restaurant and for me it is
very important and coffee is very
important you know and I went to surf
of my work should in 2007 was the the
word master barista
you know the God knows his coffees he
has a beautiful spaced in Hong Kong we
sell amazing coffee beans from all over
the world and I went to see him I said
you know we are opening a restaurant on
the street who love we love to sell your
coffee and I said oh right that we love
we look forward to happen for that to
happen but do you have a barista on
staff who is going to take care of my
coffee and I said no we don't know
because I mean not a lot of money right
and he said well ROM show me but because
I used to work there and I'm very good
friends with her and she was like hey
we'd love to start incorporating some of
your product here and me and my lady you
know we know that college kid employees
and you know working there don't
specialize in food or beverage or
anything like that kind of just they're
working can't do justice to the quality
at that point really well should we
order them you know a lower quality team
we don't want to support that either you
know and that's fine I don't want to be
a provider of cheap commodity tea that's
not what I do and I don't want to make
that exception and get into that field
just because somebody wants our product
you know so it's one of those deals
where were like maybe we can figure
something out but right now so in China
in Macau in a very good restaurant
they're back actually at least somebody
so the other lady who goes with a little
cart and they have 18 different teas you
know and she will brew the tea at the
table okay and that's your job that's
what she does you know enough
being in China it's normal you know
expect to a great tea when you go to a
restaurant so it's just to know more
it's an extra service that you provide
to your clients but also for the tea
supplier in Hong Kong that's a great
thing because I mean he can serve a lot
of amazing tea the tea sommelier she's
certified she knows she can talk about
you know and so it works that way but to
rely on the wearer you know to serve
your beautiful tea and to do it the
right way with the right water country
very very especially for like very high
in fine dining for tea to be like an
augmented experience after this meal
like in a completely different space
like you know the restaurant has like a
tea parlor or you know kind of like a
lounge area you get to sit and you can
they can offer other beverages as well
but you know that that could relieve
that that issue of the waiters wanting
to turn the table you know and then and
then as far as a service you know like
the logistics of storage of the wares
and everything that that's some way or
that server has like it doesn't need its
space where you know that's their domain
for all the tea I think that'd be an
interesting have you ever seen that John
anywhere don't no way
I actually you know not not you know
States it's a good idea I saw it in
France a few times when you go to really
very good restaurant will actually the
aperitif you know in France you know
before your meal are you going to a
cocktail no cocktailing is not up the
cocktail at the dining table but you
will actually have your cocktail in a
very beautiful space okay within the
restaurant obviously but it's a
different environment and you're going
to be with your friends
and you're going to have your cocktail
in an amazing environment and then the
waiter will come to get you when your
table table is ready when you cocktail
is finished and then you go to your
table and you have your meal and after
that you are going back to the place to
have your coffee or two of your tea
so that means the table doesn't need to
turn as rapidly because actually you're
going to take your tea and your coffee
in a different place and your writing is
that will be the ticket actually where
we can really offer an amazing tea
service I think it's difficult to get
people to value coffee tea like they do
you know at least people value alcohol
in a completely different way to have
people understand that it's kind of the
same experience it's just a little bit
more nuanced with tea and coffee you
know you don't get that same extremely
strong people people don't look at tea
and fine cocktails of course how is why
connoisseur ship in your area Joe um
medium I would say there are definitely
we actually have a few of our own
vineyards in the area
Prairie Bari is one of them Beverly is
another they there is definitely a
market for that especially because of
our tourist population because we have a
lot of people coming in for events and
there's you know with tourism the people
who can afford to travel all the time
and do these kind of things
so looking for those same experiences so
these wineries do pretty well I mean
then we have a couple of places we sell
to different places that have kind of a
more upscale wine selection one of them
is a coffee and wine bar but it is it is
a niche still you know it's definitely
we have that link it's like the craft
beer scene you know it's kind of on par
with that so it exists here definitely
there definitely is a market for but
it's not like extremely we have more
success and having a receptive you know
audience if they're already like into
kind of supership of wine
absolutely connoisseurship of any sort
that is the people that find us those
are the ones that go out of their way to
find us and connect with us and say hey
we want your product and we don't care
what it costs we want we want this
quality stuff we know there's an
elegance to tea we don't know much about
it ourselves but we want to be able to
offer that product and that's happened
with three or four of our of our clients
now they've you know this so it helps
you know that like like like like John
said in the in the beginning it's about
building that relationship with be with
the owners with the managers so that
maybe we can instill some of that
passion in them and that can roll
downhill into their employees and then
therefore into the clients so that's
what we shoot for is trying to make
connections with local business owners
and things like that going hey here's
what we got you know I know much more
likely to bite that random Joe off the
street you know yeah yeah it seems like
you're doing it Joe like that's that's
what you got to do but I think you know
maybe to answer the specific question
you have you just have to have patience
with it so you know finding and
cultivating these relationship
in this connoisseur ship is gonna take
time if you're wanting to get your
business rolling now and doing things
now you may have to compromise on
quality you know like that's the case
with with a lot of our clients actually
and the ones that are the most
successful are the ones that are kind of
running hybrid systems where it's like
they can supply the iced tea and you
know and and and that's just
cringe-worthy you know the type of team
that you have to source for iced tea
but that gets you in the door and not
gets your your brand bill like locally
so a good example of this is Jojo tea in
Miami he actually came and talked with
me two weeks on two weeks ago on this
you know live series he he has like the
ice ice cream machines and the
restaurants with his branding on it you
know it's like that's the value for him
like he you know his margins are small
in that product and again like he
cringes having to do that business but
that's was a trade mission yeah that's
what's getting his name built you know
with the the chef community throughout
Miami and then he has his tea tasting
room with like his reserve collections
and you know he can build that awareness
over time and he's been doing he's been
doing his business for about the same
amount of time that I have been doing my
business he's been working in that tea
room the you know building that
connoisseur ship for me like three or
four years now and he still hasn't you
know made his big break and he's he's
going hard on it he's like full-time all
in it so you know that just kind of
gives you a reference of you know how
much time it may end up taking you and
then on top of that you're working in a
very different market that's not as much
of the cacao eliten you know kind of
connoisseur market and Cove it on top of
all of that absolutely and we have
sacrificed a couple of times
a couple of clients we work with a
global kombucha company and you know
they don't wanna bet a lot like a gin
gin main or a nice dance song in there
to make their kombucha you know they
want something fairly cheap and it's not
so much about the the the flavor notes
of the tea as it is maybe you know
they're looking for like I want organic
and I want Fairtrade and that's where
I'm like green tea for them at one point
and so that they could do their Oh what
do they call it like a gin tea it's like
a honey and green tea kombucha yeah so
they sourced local honey from another
one of our friends and then they used
our green tea and it was their best
selling product because it had all three
of our brand names on it
a couple of those in our kind of our
ethics you know it's situational like
what I do you can do that but you have
to have a lot more patience right you
know and maybe Hustle is a little bit
harder but you know I'm grateful that
you know the the industry and the market
has supported you know kind of my
stubborn ethics on things but again I
don't I don't try to sell to restaurants
and that Jean that's one reason why you
don't see me you know all over town
trying to get into the restaurants
because I I know that challenge is that
that's there and I feel like my efforts
can be better invested in and and better
educating the consumer market so that
you know you can you know I'm working
from the other angle of creating that
demand creating that awareness you know
the consumer goes to a fancy restaurant
you know we'll ask about teeth I was one
thing that's hard about the slanted door
they actually had him I wouldn't say it
was the best he program but they had a
tea program and and you know they were
trying and and I challenged when I went
there and I ordered tea I definitely
challenged them and they had the manager
come out and gave me their card and said
hey we do want to meet with you and and
off our game and you know relationships
like that are something that I'm willing
to invest in you know even though that's
not the core because it can be a part of
the movement a part of that that FOMO
culture you know just like with the mr.
cocoa or something like that
mr. cocoa open again John I don't think
so yeah I'm not sure that farm is going
to be open suing them oh yeah that's
right yeah Palms is gonna be the last
one of their property that's why this is
a fun for weekly assembly or something
like that
which is a huge bummer yeah because the
property is brand new and not brand new
but I mean they've been spending so much
money into this property and
unfortunately you know could be derived
and it just like so in a case like that
when you we are put in a bigger tent
like that with maybe 8i and food and
beverage outlets I mean you need to
spend so much money marketing to restart
everything he's going to be very painful
for them it really bent from yeah it's
your question I don't thing is to cocoa
is opening yeah really yeah yes actually
I I heard an interesting statistic so
you know I don't know how fast the
casino in Vegas but there was like that
initial wave of when when a few date
around the country and we I don't know
if Shawn's familiar with this but I live
20 mile I'm from actually 20 miles from
where I live now palm it's called
Deadwood South Dakota and it's a little
gambling town I mean
it is it's kind of like a like a mini
Las Vegas with a with a like a Wild West
call trigger you know but I don't know
from but when so when the casinos
started opening up there were at the
time there were 19 casinos the entire
nation that were opened Deadwood was 11
of them so it tells you how fast our
gambling community was like descoth got
it because this place will collapse
without that you know that's right
that's right
it just can't stay it's not sustainable
I must be a constant flow of people
coming through here because not only is
it affecting the gambling establishments
but therefore it's affecting all of the
other restaurants and everything else
around the area nobody's coming into the
area because they come here to gamble
and then enjoy everything else in the
process you know so so yeah it's been
interesting watching the whole thing I
mean you know if you look at Macau for
example Macau is it's a small town is
five hundred thousand people it's an
island as well you know but even though
we are small we are
we represent six times the revenue of
Las Vegas oh wow yeah it's just an
amazing thing you know Chinese people
they love to gamble and they will and
David just gambled like there is not
more oh and the spendin of correct but
so for the very first time since there
is casino in the in Macau they closed on
the casino all of them polka be 19 and
obviously all the loot Reznor they don't
like to be close dancers for sure they
don't have to lose money there are
nothing that is - so they push and
politic the politician to reopen the
case you know and the politician is open
its open so about the month and a half
ago there we opened the casino yeah
the politician said okay you will open
the casino that's fine we will not close
them down again but we are not going to
reopen the borders so be without the
borders there is no to whisper brings
out the toys is no gaming so they don't
work with local local dot up the money
to go to those kind of casino I mean
actually they are we have been much
better for them to just stay close
beyond your own cuz now you know they
will now add the overhead Venetian Macao
really are you really making that back
or you really kind of just going you're
moving backwards at this mg mga minas
vegas goes so is something around here
though I need to get up there every day
every other day they don't really know
what to do with their time anymore
you know they're overwhelmed by it so
they don't so the only thing to do is to
and I know we do so we sell to one place
and it's inside of a casino but it's a
very high like gastronomic restaurant
you know they're like five things on the
menu and it constantly changes is the
chef friend of ours is very well trained
in that kind of stuff and so we
sacrificed not dealing with the casinos
for him because we're like we know you
will do justice to our product and it's
not necessarily the people that are
coming into the restaurant are probably
gamblers or at least in some way but
there are there is a big population of
like families that come
to Deadwood as well for the like that
West tight cultural aspect because we
were one of the first gold mining areas
in the in the United States for what if
we were one of the ones that got big
with the gold rush um
and so there's a lot of like mining
artifacts and things like that the
culture around here is really rich so
you find a lot of families coming
through and things like that it's not
just all gamblers but there is a big
percentage of gamblers and they're the
reason as well as so we sacrificed and
worked with him and but we haven't heard
much from him since
since Cove it I know they shut down for
a little while I think it might because
he just opened before this all started
up so it's one of those deals were like
he might be on the fence of like I don't
know what he's going to do you know yes
waiting to see what happens there but so
yeah I mean I think in relation to what
John and I have been talking about and
you know to your your overarching
question that you had about you know how
to value yourself Jill I think that this
could be a good time for you to kind of
to set that standard of what what you
want to be and what you want your value
to be and and the price on it and don't
be afraid to overvalue it or not over
value it just value it period you know
and if I'm right that your products
gonna be you know two or three times
more expensive than you know like the
other restaurant fancy brands that we
know about and talked about don't be
afraid about that you know and just
continue putting in the work to build
the trust to build the connoisseur ship
and you know hopefully you have other
avenues to support you either through
the work or through you know even
commodity sales if that's and I could
just be like off branch it could be you
know off catalog you know like any time
how tulitt will do any like large-scale
brokering you know some brands come in
and they're like yeah we we want to have
the direct trade we want to work with
this specific grow
but we were looking for this specific
lower grade of tea that I usually don't
carry in my catalog like we'll do that
business but it's like off-brand
you know it's it's off catalog right you
know you can build your catalog and
build that high level and no one's going
to criticize you Wow
Joe was like he's like the tea expert
look how expensive his products are like
things like really high value you know
it's it may mean that you're not gonna
be selling off the shelf immediately but
you know that's the work that you're
gonna have to put in to establish you
know and and in time over the next
couple of years as the restaurant image
industry figures itself out you know
with the things that John and I were
talking about I mean I think the
overarching kind of theme of our
conversation has been that dining is
gonna have to like diversify itself and
find additional value adds to just the
food itself and in an elevated T
experience could be one of those maybe
not every restaurant is gonna do it but
like here and there that will be one of
those sad versifying factors that you
know a chef can incorporate in their
restaurant - you know define their value
and then you'll be right there you'll be
the top in the town you'll be the top in
the whole Midwest if you want you know
yeah yeah I will win one of the
compromises that we have I wouldn't call
it a compromise but we are you know our
name of our business is agency or herbal
wellness so you know I'm an herbalist by
trade and herbs and just like plants and
plant medicine are kind of my specialty
I consider tea leaf chameleon cements
it's another one of those plant
medicines but we have kind of split the
two apart a little bit rather than
offering them all to everyone
universally we've kind of taken tea and
put it in its own category and then
we've taken herbal teas and put them in
their own
category and I find most of our
wholesale clients most of the
restaurants and stuff that we work with
work more with the herbal stuff because
I think it sounds better
you know we one of our clients just got
our blackberry sage blend on and they
made a cocktail out of it and all sorts
of stuff has no tea leaf in it at all
it's got blackberries blackberry leaf
raspberry leaf stage and orange peel in
it and so they made a cocktail out of
that max'll great but then we try and be
like hey here's our nice you know autumn
harvest black tea and everybody but you
know and just this is black tea and so
they just passed right over it so the
fru-u-- be kind of more floofy sound and
stuff seems to do better in restaurants
so that's kind of what we've we've come
to a compromise there it's like well our
restaurants for the most part are just
gonna sell these herbal teas and then
it'll be up to us and and and our
personal like our retail sales to
actually get people to like they would
you know yeah that's kind of you know
like flowery blends because they don't
like you know don't do that don't do
that like I don't like I told you I
would wake up and do this even
make money off of it I would share tea
and herbs with people even if it was not
a business you know yeah brings together
and share with the community and things
like that even if there was zero money
so you know I don't know how to value it
so I'm just I guess just gonna give it
luckily my partner my ladies know she's
like no we need to make we need to like
you know so I struggle with that it's
just hard to put numbers to something
that is it monetary to me there's no
monetary value in my heart to a good cup
of tea I mean there's really as far as
I'm concerned I know
so like that passion right there is
what's gonna help you succeed but what
in the business sense you know like it
is important to over value and the thing
that's cool and wholesale business like
when you're selling to a restaurant is
that you can price very high and
depending on the nature of your
relationship with that buyer with that
restaurant you can offer discounts to
adjust the price to what you want to
charge a particular account right and a
lot a lot of our clients do that I think
that's a pretty common Jean is that a
pretty common practice and your
yes it is yeah yeah so yeah on your
catalog like put the price is very high
you know and then if you're selling this
soon yeah I would say so just yeah just
to value your product you know and tea
I'm a tea can be expensive don't get me
wrong but if you go to visit or
estimator or Sheriff I'm selling premium
tea they don't really know about the
price and quite frankly they don't
really care about the price because like
they are buying Wagyu beef Dabangg for
Black Caviar those kind of things like
extremely expensive so they know exactly
you know that then we be willing to buy
great tea
even if it's expensive the thing is not
to buy the tea that is to serve the
other thing is to serve the tea okay
okay okay about half of our clients
interacted with in relation to selling
if you will but the higher end ones are
like you know um they're like you just
give it to the lower end you know yeah
and so those are I guess you know that's
not where we belong luckily the the
connoisseur ship of this area is just on
the rise
every day every day there's some you
know nice little mom-and-pop organic
pipe shop opening it up you know they're
really trying to serve like quality
ingredients and small menus and it's
great so we're going to get aerial in a
lot of places too so yeah I think you're
good to go you just yeah just values
don't be afraid to value yourself and
your work and really if it becomes a
problem and and being able to close an
account you can always negotiate right
but what your up front value is
including on your retail - you know
don't don't undersell yourself yeah
because you put a lot of work in in
addition to your passion and everything
like if you're doing trainings and all
of that now that is something that is
hard to sell to a restaurant is like
training so that's why we've done that
the two times we've done that they've
actually gotten all their stuff
just don't for free because enough to
pay it like I was a consulting fee or
something like that that's why you kind
of have to like package everything
together in your loosely so all of that
training all of that time that you would
need to put into that hand-holding
should be in the price of your tea
right like curating their menus all of
that consulting stuff we we do all of
that so I like I say just figure that
into the price of the tea itself value
that and not only do they don't value it
yeah that's just the standard in the
industry I mean even alcohol
distributors wine distributors they're
also including all of those free
services and with the the price of their
product right thank you so much you're
I was nice to meet you Joe John thank
you kind of gets back on its feet I'm
not so worried about here because it's
really small so it's like well you know
we don't have this far as far to climb
back to get to you know normal if you
will but a lot of these for your
establishments that are more high risk
and dealing with more just more revenue
in general it's gonna be harder for them
so yeah I just think some good luck to
all that for sure thank you I gotta come
by for another meal Jean I'm searching
yeah two of these banks rowing eight

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