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Hit-Or-Miss

Chinese Restaurant Trusts Customers to ‘Pay What They Want’ For Food, Plan Completely Backfires

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With much faith in the “inherent goodness of human beings,” three entrepreneurs thought it would be a great idea to launch a promotional campaign with a “pay what you want” scheme for their new restaurant. The policy would allow customers to order as much food as they want and then let them just pay whatever they wanted for the meal.

If that doesn’t sound like a good idea at all, then maybe because it simply isn’t.

This restaurant in the Guizhou capital of Guiyang did attract a huge crowd on opening day, however, it failed to make any earnings at all, according to The Paper (via Shanghaiist).

In fact, after seven days of the promo, the karst cave-themed diner managed to lose as much as 100,000 yuan ($14,845).

Owner Liu Xiaojun and her partners apparently did not anticipate how brazen customers can get when given the opportunity. They reportedly presumed that most of the diners would be “rational and fair.”

During the promo, a significant number of customers reportedly paid only 10% of the total cost of their meal. Some even had the gall to pay just 1 yuan ($0.15).

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“If our food or service was the problem, then that would be one thing,” said Liu. “But according to customer feedback, our dishes are both filling and tasty. It’s just that the payments don’t match up with the evaluations.”

The failed promotion had a huge impact on Liu’s business partners who ended up arguing just a week from the restaurant’s opening on October 2. One of the partners even decided to just return to his hometown in frustration.

After a week of the huge loss, the restaurant then experienced even more betrayal when none of its original customers who took advantage of the“pay what you want” scheme even came back the day the promo ended.

“It makes sense that people like to eat food and not pay much. I just don’t understand why they haven’t come back since the promotion ended,” Liu said.

Originally posted by Ryan General on Nextshark

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

A Sushi Restaurant Just Bought This Massive Bluefin Tuna For $117,000

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It’s probably safe to say that the tuna purchased by Japanese restaurant chain Sushi Zanmai for $117,000 dwarfs even your priciest sushi dinner.

The 441-pound bluefin tuna was purchased for a whopping 14 million yen — $265 per pound — at the annual New Year auction at Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, reports the Washington Post.

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“It was a little more expensive than expected, but it’s the highest quality for its shape, color and fat,” Kiyoshi Kimura, the owner of Sushi Zanmai, told reporters at the market. “I want our customers to be happy. It was the last auction at Tsukiji so there were many people there, and I feel everyone in the auction was deeply moved.”

The tuna was especially expensive because it was caught off the country’s northern coast in Aomori prefecture, which is famous for its abundance of richly fat tuna that fisherman there refer to as “black gold.”

Another reason the tuna fetched such a huge sum was because it was the first auction of the year, of which the Japanese have a superstition of overpaying for — called “goshiga soba,” which means “congratulatory price” — to usher in a prosperous year.

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Kimura is also no stranger to overpaying for a prize catch. In 2013, he paid nearly $1.8 million for a 490-pound tuna after engaging in a bidding war with a rival sushi chain owner.

Although the price paid for the tuna is impressive, marine conservation groups have warned that overfishing and rising prices could mean future extinction for the endangered bluefin tuna species. Japan consumes 80 percent of the bluefin tuna caught worldwide, which has caused their population levels to dwindle.

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“Given the already dire state of the population — decimated to just 4 percent of unfished levels — it is of particular concern that the auction price is rising again,” Amanda Nickson, director of Global Tuna Conservation at the Pew Charitable Trusts, said in a release. “The international community must let the Japanese government know that additional action is needed to save this species.”

Written by NextShark

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Rich Singaporean Couple Charged With Starving Maid With Bread And Instant Noodles

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A Singaporean couple are facing charges in court that they forced their Filipino maid to only eat bread and instant noodles, causing her to lose 44 pounds over the course of 15 months.

The maid, 40-year-old Thelma Oyasan Gawidan, weighed about 64 pounds when she was admitted to Tan Tock Seng Hospital in April last year, about a 40 percent drop from January 2013, when she first began working for the couple and weighed 108 pounds, reports AsiaOne.

On the stand, Gawidan testified that the couple, Lim Choon Hong and his wife Chong Sui Foon, both 47, fed her two packets of instant noodles and three slices of bread daily for her first meal and then a slice of tomato or cucumber, plus six slices of bread for a second meal, according to the Straits Times.

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Thelma Oyasan Gawidan

“I became very skinny, I couldn’t recognize myself when I saw myself in the mirror,” a crying Gawidan said through a Tagalog interpreter in court.

She was able to regain her weight at a shelter run by the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics after fleeing from her employers.

In addition to being inadequately fed, Gawidan claimed she had to sleep in a storeroom at odd hours during the daytime.

Her weekly baths, which were taken at a public restroom in her employers’ condominium building, were monitored by Chong so that she would not bathe too long. She was also forbidden from brushing her teeth.

The couple’s lawyer, Tan Hee Liang, told District Judge Low Wee Ping that Lim was “very distressed by the whole affair” and “eager to have his side of the story (told).”

Lim and Chong are currently out on $3,000 bail each. If convicted, they face a fine of up to $10,000 and 12 months of imprisonment.

Written by NextShark 

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Woman Complains About Popcorn, Son Of China’s Richest Man Comes To The Rescue

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A frustrated cinemagoer in China has found out that sometimes it pays to complain, especially if those in power are listening.

After finding her box of popcorn was only about 80 percent full, a woman posted a picture of her less-than-generous portion to Weibo, according to South China Morning Post.

Around an hour later, Wang Sicong — the son of Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man and chairman of Dalian Wanda group, which owned the movie theater the woman visited — responded to the woman’s post.

“In the future, when you go to the cinema just say my name. You will enjoy free popcorn of a lifetime,” Wang Sicong wrote on his Weibo.

Although it’s unclear if Wang’s offer was real, his post since been shared over 68,000 times and liked by over 145,000 people.

Wang is a controversial figure in China who is known to speak his mind. In an interview he gave in September, he spoke on the lack of freedom in the country, saying: “The state chooses what’s mainstream, and you have to conform to that. If your ideals are not mainstream, then you’re wrong.”

Written by NextShark

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

The Most Expensive Food In The World Costs Up To $10,000 A Pound

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The most expensive food on Earth blooms from an ocean of purple flowers for one week each year in rare places around the globe. The spice, saffron, is harvested by hand from the stigmas of a saffron crocus or purple flower.

Approximately 150 flowers are required to yield a gram of the orange-yellow spice that can cost between $2,000 to $10,000 per pound, according to Mashable. Harvesting saffron is a time- and energy-consuming process that has remained the same since ancient times. Flowers bloom in areas that have extreme climates consisting of hot and dry summers and cold winters.

Saffron is commonly used in Persian, Indian, European and Turkish cuisines. It is a popular ingredient in the traditional paella dishes in Spain and famous risottos in Northern Italy.

saffron_expense_2Kashmiri villagers gathering saffron flowers from a saffron field in Pampore, Kashmir, on Nov. 2, 2015

Saffron is harvested from the stigmas of a purple flower of Crocus sativus Linnaeus. The region is well regarded for its high-quality saffron.

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Saffron has been used in manufacturing for fragrance in perfumes and color dye for cloth. An Iranian villager harvests the flowers in a field near Torbat-E Heidarieh in northeastern Iran on Oct. 31, 2015. The country is a major producer of saffron and supplies 95% of the world’s demand.

saffron_expense_4A Kashmiri villager arranges saffron flowers for drying in the sunshine in a saffron field in Pampore

In cooking, saffron can be used as a spice, yellow food coloring and flavoring agent. Kashmir is the only place in India and one of the few places on the globe that the flower can be found.

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The Crocus sativus Linnaeus, also known as Rose of Saffron, belongs to the family of Iridaceae. A Kashmiri villager in a saffron field in Pampore.

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Kashmiri villagers cultivating saffron flowers in a field in Pampore. The purple flower has red stigmas and yellow stamens.

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It can take up to 75,000 saffron flowers to yield a single pound of the yellow spice. Iranian villagers clean up saffron flowers in their house near Torbat-E Heidarieh in northeastern Iran on Oct. 31, 2015.

saffron_expense_8Kashmiri villagers in a purple field of flowers in Pampore

The stigmas of the saffron flowers are also used in medicine to treat asthma, coughs, insomnia and cancer.

Written by Laura Dang, Nextshark

Categories
Restaurants

Why Every Big Player in Silicon Valley Goes to This Chinese Restaurant

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Silicon Valley is known for a multitude of landmarks, including the garages Apple and Google were started in, the Facebook campus, and the IBM Almaden Research Lab. The one landmark, however, that perhaps garners the most universal praise from the best and the brightest of the area is Chinese restaurant Chef Chu’s.

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Started by Lawrence Chu in 1970, Chef Chu’s has been the go-to place for the Bay Area’s tech elite, celebrities and politicians. Tennis superstar Serena Williams, platinum-selling artist Justin Bieber and former Intel CEO Craig Barrett have all frequented Chu’s establishment. The late Apple founder Steve Jobs also used to be a regular before he became a recognizable tech titan.

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“He’d come in here as a nobody,” Chu told Mercury News in a 2012 interview. “He’d wait 45 minutes to get a table and all of a sudden he’s on the cover of Time Magazine. I was busy making a living. I didn’t know who he was.”

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In the mid-1980s, when then Secretary of State George Shultz needed to hold an emergency meeting with other high-ranking officials in the Reagan administration, he held it at Chef Chu’s.

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Even though he’s been in business for 45 years, the 72-year-old Chu still goes to work with seemingly the same passion and drive he started with. He’s frequently in the kitchen helping the staff and tries greeting every single customer that walks through the door.

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Silicon Valley futurist Paul Saffo once said: “No restaurant has had the longevity of Chef Chu’s for either quality of the food or popularity with the valley’s movers and shakers. It’s as vibrant and lively as it’s ever been.”

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Most recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has become a regular at Chef Chu’s.

Chu tells NextShark: “Mark Zuckerberg comes in here all the time. Him and his wife Priscilla came here last Sunday. Their parents too, they moved from the East Coast.”

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Even with all the celebrity attention, Chef Chu believes in one core philosophy when treating customers: “Whoever comes in here, we should treat them the same. For a simple reason: they all pay the same price. Whether they’re an engineer, doctor, governor.”

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Aside from his restaurant, Chu has published three cookbooks, started a catering business, and created his own cooking classes.

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Chu, born in China and raised in Taiwan and Hong Kong, stayed behind when his family moved in the early 1960s to California where his father went from being an architect to a restaurateur in Silicon Valley. A couple of years later, at the age of 20, Chu moved as well.

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His first job was as a busboy at Trader Vic’s, a Polynesian restaurant in San Francisco. He recounts: “In the restaurant, we worked so hard and I found out that I loved restaurants. It’s very famous as well. I was there; I met all celebrities there. I was a busboy, waiter, bartender. Then I told myself, one day I want to do something like this. Maybe not a busboy, but I want to do something of my own.”

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At the time, he was trying to woo his future wife, Ruth Ho, who was then a PhD student at Stanford University. He’d often joke to her that he was also a PhD: poor, hungry and determined. Chu successfully wooed not only his future wife, but also his future father-in-law, who was a successful entrepreneur.

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“I told the father that I had a dream. I said I want to open fast food Chinese restaurants in America. The father liked me. They all liked me in a sense, but they never asked my education. They only said, ‘This guy is 25 years old and has a dream.’ ”

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It was in 1970 that Chu decided to follow through on his dream of starting his own restaurant, opening his first fast-food Chinese restaurant in a space that used to be a small laundromat between a beauty salon and appliance repair shop.

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Six months later, he took over the beauty salon’s space in order to expand his venture into a sit-down restaurant. Three years after that, with money he saved over the years and from an investment from his father-in-law, Chu purchased the entire complex and completely renovated his restaurant, including the installation of a state-of-the-art kitchen.

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Although by then a successful restaurateur, Chu wanted to be a chef and worked tirelessly to learn from the chefs he hired at his restaurant, perfecting his culinary skill through practice and trial and error.

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“I worked my butt off. I collapsed in my bed every day. I cooked for 20 years in the kitchen.”

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After his father’s restaurant was closed down by the health department, Chu went to college for two semesters to learn how to properly run a restaurant in order to make sure the same fate wouldn’t befall his own restaurant. To this day, Chu takes cleanliness and hygiene at his restaurant as one of his top priorities.

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“Personal hygiene is very important. That’s 24 hours every second, every minute of the job. When you decorate the plate, everything on the plate should be edible. You cannot just put a flower there because it looks good. Everything on the plate should be edible.”

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Initially, Chu wanted to open a chain of Chinese restaurants all over the country but he eventually decided to just focus on one. At 72, he’s still learning and regularly travels to Asia to discover new culinary secrets.

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“People always ask me why I have only one restaurant. ‘Why do you work at 72? Why don’t you hire people and open two or three restaurants?’ The type of restaurant that I run is totally different than the type of restaurant that you run. It takes a lot of hard work but ultimately you must be a leader.”

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You have to have a great team behind you. For them, it is just another job. For me, it is my life. Most people work for me 20 to 30 years and retire. Why? They knew that they could trust me and that I would not let them down and that I was passionate. You have to demonstrate that you are a true leader.”

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Chu is not the only successful person in his family. His middle son, Jon M. Chu, is a successful director who has helmed films like “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” and “Step Up 2: The Street.” His other son, Larry Chu Jr., has joined his father in the kitchen and plans to take over the restaurant someday.

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“Since Larry joined me [it has] allowed me to cut about 50% of the worry.”

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Even with all his knowledge and success, Chu admits that he will forever be a student that doesn’t stop learning, to which he credits as a major reason for his success.

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“Most people [say], ‘Chef Chu, you should retire. You have all the money in the world.’ I’m coming here [because] I’m proud of what I do. I’m making history. I believe my philosophy, my method. I trust my instinct. I trust my burning desire that we put 100 percent in the business and don’t stop improving. I don’t say change for the sake of change. Don’t stop advancing. Don’t stop because the world is running, the world is changing.”

Written by Melly Lee, NextShark

All images are credited to Melly Lee Photography and have been published with permission.