November 30, 2018 |
In this week’s episode of our Five Question Friday we speak to Dominik Tschurr who is a partner and general manager of Quince – a modern, casual fine dining eatery and bar in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Born and raised in Switzerland, Dominik graduated from the Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne, and spent the past 14 years in various food & beverage management positions in hotels from Europe (Spain, Germany, Iceland) to Asia (Thailand & Vietnam) before venturing out on his own.
Tell us about your business
Last year, we have set up a company here in Ho Chi Minh City which is also running the restaurant that we opened 9 months ago. Our restaurant here is the sister venue to Quince Eatery and Bar in Bangkok, which was included in the first Michelin Guide of Thailand. Our kitchen is overseen by head chef Julien Perraudin who has been educated in the culinary arts in some of the top kitchens of France and the UK, and then in Melbourne, Australia. So, what he brings to Quince is a “Melbournised” menu based on fresh local produce. Our menu is basically centered around our big woodfired oven that we use to bake and roast all kinds of fresh local produce. In the near future we will also add a private dining room and a walk-in wine cellar to the restaurant, as well as developing a bar upstairs.
What led to your decision opening this business?
It was a series of events that all came together at that time. I just finished with my previous work as F&B director in a hotel resort since I felt that it was time for a change and to follow my passion for the independent F&B industry and set up something on my own. One of my business partners, whom I knew from my time in Thailand before, mentioned to me that he wanted to bring the concept of the existing Quince in Bangkok to Vietnam. We took it from there, opened the company, looked for an appropriate location for the restaurant, found a beautiful building from the French colonial era and did a whole lot of renovation and construction until we could finally open the restaurant.
What were the three biggest obstacles along the way and how did you overcome them?
Paperwork, construction and the patience.
For the paperwork we had some help from within our team in terms of translation and municipality contacts, but it was more of a waiting game until everything was done. So, we knew it can be done, but just had to wait it out. The construction was more challenging, as we also had to be on site to check every single detail. Often, it sounded good on paper, but then the execution was not supervised properly, and there is a clear gap in between what contractors promise and what gets built. So, we kind of had to fill this gap ourselves and be very hands on, in order to get to a positive outcome. The most difficult part however, was to stay calm and being patient in various situations, from waiting to get the needed documents done, over waiting to receive the long-awaited answer in a challenging negotiation to staying patient in stressful situations with several stakeholders in order to focus on the smooth operation of our business.
What advice would you give fellow entrepreneurs?
Keep a positive mindset and focus on the long-term goals. There will always be set-backs and challenges coming up, but as long as you believe in what you are doing and keep pushing, at one point you will get there. No matter how crazy your idea sounds, weigh out the options and do your research, but some ideas might just be the next big thing that people are waiting for.
What are your thoughts on the future of F&B and the industry?
It is a good time for the F&B industry here in Vietnam, as more and more people are looking for innovative new concepts and places. Almost every week there are new restaurants and bars opening and it is hard to keep up trying out all those new places. There is an ever-growing competition, because big operators can afford to pay high rents in great locations, so as a small place, you have to get the right quality for the right price. Consistency is the key for success, but that is also in general for any place and also other services, not only linked to the F&B industry.
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