How to Rock it in Retail and Restaurants

This week we’ve had Lisa Tse and Mike Hewitt show their passion as the head honchos in two very different companies.

Lisa Tse is an amazing woman who not only owns an award-winning family restaurant, but also has her own sauce line, and she has written a couple cook books. Her and her sisters take charge of Sweet Mandarin, an amazingly built brand that dominates Britain’s Chinese food scene

Mike Hewitt is an accomplished chef who’s done graduate school in Switzerland, and decided to go the human resource route to connect chefs to restaurants. Mike is the CEO of One Haus (among other cool things) and his staff of chefs-turned-recruiters help bring high quality food service employees to great restaurants.

If you want to rock it in the restaurant industry and retail industry, listen to these guys.

Know (and respond to) your Target Market

Lisa stresses this a lot in her interview, especially when it comes to her sauce line.

Her Chinese retail sauces are gluten-free, vegetarian, MSG-free, and delicious! In fact, they are so good, the Queen of England buys them.

But the story of how she started the sauces was interesting. It was mainly a customer who asked if she could make cases of sauces. The demand got so high, they needed a bigger facility.

I was shocked when Lisa said that she didn’t want to co-pack. The Tse family bought their own factory because if they had their own factory, they can control the process and for anyone who’ve worked with co-packers, it can sometimes be a nightmare when it comes to communication.

Lisa’s justification is that owning your own factory means you can create your own programs that can eliminate any form of allergen or unwanted ingredients in their space. Their user base can definitively be assured that Sweet Mandarin sauces stick to their word.

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So Sweet Mandarin’s sauce line is a great example of how Lisa was able to respond to her target market to make these award winning sauces that are dominating retail.

Be Everywhere

Mike told me this and then told me about these awesome food festivals he goes to. For example, he goes to Miami, Palm Beach, yea that’s work, right?

The point being, Mike says exposure is everything and it’s very important to be in hot events so people notice you.

The same regard is with Lisa’s business. She’s been on Dragon’s Den (UK’s shark tank), Gordon Ramsey’s show, and a bunch of other British TV shows you or I have never heard of. These shows soared her brand’s awareness making them hit places to go to.

Being everywhere matters in social media and it can be hard and kind of scary to post your content everywhere such as facebook, twitter, linkedin, medium, etc. Heck, I’m still scared of doing that.

It’s the People

What I found really cool about both Lisa and Mike’s interview is that the subject of employees come up. I really tried to dig deep on what makes a good employee and you’d really think it’s all about being hip, a good attitude, or it’s their ambition.

Yet both of them say that the prospective employee has to at least do the job.

I might have explained this a long time ago in episode 10, that once I found out that people just want you to do what they assign you to do, then the jobs keep on rolling in. Once I read and recited the job descriptions during the interview, I was in.

As a recruiting company CEO, Mike’s advice is to just be an honest candidate, knows exactly what they want, and can do a good job. If you have those qualities, you will have no problem getting the job.

Whether you are recruiting star players or you yourself are in a  job rut, it’s very important to let your ego take a break and reflect on what you can do right now.

Next week I’ll be sharing all of the lessons I’ve learned from the CEO’s I’ve interviewed on the podcast. I’ll also be celebrating 50 glorious episodes! See you there!

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