Union Ramen Bar owners Chef Nate Nguyen and 杰夫 Gapultos are long-time friends who decided to open a restaurant over a bowl of ramen. They started their business in the midst of the pandemic but were able to have a successful open and continued support from the public through their creativity, 结合了对拉面的喜爱和体验. We reached out to them to see what it was like to open a business during uncertain times and what advice they had for those starting a business.
你于2020年8月开业. In the midst of a pandemic, what was it like to open a business during an unprecedented time?
It was very stressful for Chef Nate and I, to say the least, to open in the midst of the pandemic. Our original grand opening date was supposed to be April 4 – National Ramen Day – but the pandemic got in the way of that. 这对bet9app苹果下载软件来说也是一个财务上的挑战, 因为大流行之前bet9app苹果下载软件还没开门, 所以bet9app苹果下载软件没有资格获得任何个人防护装备贷款. 与此同时, bet9app苹果下载软件已经投入了大量资金, 公用事业和运营费用都没了, along with the challenge of keeping the employees we recruited to start on an opening date that no longer existed because of the unknowns. 在为未来承受了很多压力之后, 还有和内特主厨和我妻子无数次的对话, we officially decided to go ahead and pull the trigger and open to the public for take-out on July 8, 2020.
The pandemic really forced us to change our whole opening strategy, as well as our menu. 最初, our menu was going to start out simple with hot broth ramen and some small plates, 但因为外卖是bet9app苹果下载软件唯一的选择, bet9app苹果下载软件决定加入一种叫做Mazemen的无汤拉面, 还有更多的小盘子，可以用来打包带走. Being limited to take-out only also forced us to focus more on the packaging of our food and presentation. bet9app苹果下载软件想让它成为顾客的一种体验, so we created a “How-To” instruction card for preparing your bowl at home, 用环保包装把它包装得更像一个食品包. 随着时间的推移，餐馆的安全准则被落实到位, we felt comfortable enough to open our doors for dine-in service in August. 幸运的是bet9app苹果下载软件, bet9app手机版下载对bet9app苹果下载软件提供的服务反应很好, 这种支持令人愉快，势不可挡. bet9app苹果下载软件每天都感谢他们的支持!
对我来说，有几件事. I had been in the world of entertainment and hospitality since graduating from Loyola University bet9app苹果下载软件. 从当地唱片公司的市场总监，到制作 & 在世界上最大的派对城市之一推广派对, to moonlighting as a game day entertainment coordinator for the bet9app苹果下载软件 Saints, to opening up my own special events venue… everything I have ever done has always started with why I think I was put on this planet: to make sure the people around me are having the best of times. I was also looking for that next project and challenge to bring that philosophy to. 与此同时, after a few year hiatus from the professional kitchen to raise a couple of beautiful daughters, Chef Nate had expressed to me that he got the figurative itch to get back into the culinary game. The timing just seemed right plus it was an opportunity to partner with one of my best and most talented friends! bet9app苹果下载软件一起冒了个险, and we decided to team up to bring our interpretation of our favorite food – Ramen – to bet9app苹果下载软件.
在开发菜单时, much of Chef’s inspiration came from our trip to Japan to attend the “Tokyo Ramen Show” – the largest ramen noodle festival in the world. We were inspired by the Japanese culture and the experimentation we witnessed from ramen chefs. 因为拉面在食品史上还是个新事物, it is not bound by tradition in the way that other foods like sushi can be. The definition of a ramen dish is simply a dish that has ramen noodles in it, 这就给创新留下了很大的空间. 为什么不结合一些伴随bet9app苹果下载软件成长的亚洲风味和bet9app苹果下载软件风味呢, 把它和传统的拉面和小盘子融合在一起? 在bet9app苹果下载软件的巡回演唱会，一票接着一票卖光, really brought us the confidence to find a location and open up a brick and mortar. We found a fantastic historic location in what used to be Jim Russell’s Records Store, 在下花园区, 联合拉面就这样诞生了!
Chef Nate, you have worked in well-known restaurants like Bayona and Meauxbar Bistro. 你甚至在搬回bet9app苹果下载软件之前开了家餐厅. What lessons have you brought with you from your previous experiences that you apply at Union Ramen Bar?
What I have learned over the years, personally, is to always be a humble cook. What I bring to Union is to maintain quality and give great detail to the food that we serve. 更重要的是, I’ve learned by preparing dishes from scratch gives us that “soul” which makes us who we are at Union Ramen.
杰夫, 作为联合拉面吧和智库营销的共同所有者, what advice do you have for those looking to or interested in starting a business?
#1 Make sure you truly believe with your whole heart and soul in your business concept, 并通过实际花时间制定一份商业计划来证明这一点.
#2确保你有足够的资金来执行计划, 乘以2, and then have another financial cushion on top of that… because remember, 你总是会超出预算.
史蒂夫·马丁说得最好:“不可否认要优秀.“如果你擅长你的工作, your customer will come to you and will surely talk about it to the next person. 在bet9app苹果下载软件的案例中, 不仅仅是食物, 这当然有帮助, 但bet9app苹果下载软件希望从氛围上来说，整个体验都是好的, 的氛围, 服务——bet9app苹果下载软件的目标是做好bet9app苹果下载软件所做的事情, bet9app苹果下载软件绝对不能被忽视.
You have worked with Familias Unidas to donate a portion of your sales towards the Hurricane victims in Honduras and collaborated with pop-ups. 未来有什么值得期待的合作吗?
bet9app苹果下载软件喜欢发展联盟和想法，回馈那些需要帮助的人, 所以bet9app苹果下载软件肯定想举办更多的筹款活动, 还有为bet9app苹果下载软件餐厅的后起之秀准备的! bet9app苹果下载软件从临时巡回演出开始, and we are still so grateful for the opportunity we were given by the venues that hosted us, 所以bet9app苹果下载软件想把它传递出去. We also recently teamed up with Zony Mash Beer Project and Southern’s Food to do a friendly “Chicken Wings & Lumpia战斗”弹出.
你现在正在招人. What are some of the qualities you look for in applicants looking to be new hires?
bet9app苹果下载软件目前有一种快速休闲的经营方式, 所以,, we are looking for those fast-paced and friendly individuals who genuinely enjoy to give the customer a positive experience. 团队合作和沟通是这种操作方式的关键, so we expect our team members to understand that each of them is equally important to make things work, 在这种新常态下, they need to be able to adapt and be a “jack of all trades” in the service industry.