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Expanding Business in Hong Kong by Word of Mouth

Famous for its authentic Shanghainese cuisine with a touch of innovation, Jardin de Jade is a household restaurant brand in Shanghai. Owned by King Mang Group which also has multiple restaurant brands in Mainland China, Jardin de Jade set its foot in Hong Kong in 2010 when a flagship restaurant was launched in Sun Hung Kai Centre in Wanchai, which serves mainly business customers. In shortly two years since its launch, the restaurant had already won a Michelin star as well as the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s Best of the Best Culinary Awards.

Expanding Business in Hong Kong by Word of Mouth

After the tremendous success of the flagship restaurant, the company saw the business opportunities and opened its second restaurant in Hong Kong in December 2016 in Cityplaza, one of the busiest shopping centers in Hong Kong. The new restaurant spans across 7,000 square feet providing 200 seats, offering an even bigger capacity than the one in Wanchai.

Lau Yu Chun, Chairman of the King Mang Group, said that while the Wanchai flagship restaurant serves mainly business customers, the Cityplaza branch targets family and leisure customers. At a regular weekend, the restaurant receives by average some 1,000 customers per day, which is considered to be a high table turnover rate for a luxury Chinese restaurant.

Lau believes that a successful restaurant brand is not driven by the number of branches it owns, but by word-of-mouth. “Building a restaurant brand is a word-of-mouth business. We hesitate to do advertising because we believe that a good brand should rely on word-of-mouth, and it takes time to build a reputable brand,” Lau said.

Lau has an interesting personal and professional background. Originated from Hong Kong, he worked in a few Chinese restaurants in the 1970’s before moving to Luxembourg, a place where he lived for over 20 years and was nurtured to become a food and beverage entrepreneur. In 1999, Lau went to Shanghai to open the first Jardin de Jade. After establishing the brand in Mainland China and now with around 20 outlets in the region, Lau came back to his birthplace to expand his business footprint.

Hong Kong is special to Lau not only because of his emotional attachment to the city, but also the opportunities that he encountered. “In Hong Kong, I have established many long-term business partners who have a lot of trust in our brand. Also, Hong Kong has a good business foundation since it has a very long-established and well-developed infrastructure; it also has a good linkage with Mainland China which facilitates business that crosses both places.”

Lau prefers to let the expansion plan driven by opportunity. “If there’s a right opportunity and if I meet good working partners, I am more than happy to expand by opening more restaurants. For now, my priority is to focus on maintaining the food and service quality. If the brand is good, the opportunity will come,” he concluded.

Friday, May 19, 2017

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Fast Facts

  • First restaurant opened in Shanghai in 1999. 24 branches in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Beijing, Suzhou, and Macau
  • Opened Hong Kong’s flagship restaurant in Wanchai in 2010, and second restaurant in Cityplaza in 2016
  • Currently employs over 120 staff in Hong Kong

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