My business idea.
I would like to create a restaurant and entertainment hub where you can find: Asian soul food, Chef specialties, popular global foods, 12 mid-tier PCs, a few high-tier VR dedicated PCs, low-tier PCs for card gaming, browsing and school work, depending on the level of simplicity game creation has reached by its fruition; maybe an ultra-high end workstation, four console areas with couches for console gaming and movies, two ping pong tables, three darts boards, a tabletop and card game area, small comic book library, and an alchemical juice bar.
I have come up with three central tenets that I believe will lead to success.
1st Priority: Safety. With the recent developments of understanding in microbiology, we should endeavor to create an environment free of harmful bacteria. The safety of employees and customers is equally important. There also needs to be an emphasis on nutritional values and macronutrient intake per order. All orders should encourage the wellbeing of the customer. Objective nutritional values should be fully disclosed along with any potential risky chemicals such as acrylamide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Neu5Gc, etc.
2nd Priority: Customer and employee satisfaction. An inspiration of mine is Shigemi Kawahara, the creator of the ramen chain Ippudo. His goal was to make ramen “cool”, so his employees would actually feel fulfilled and happy to be there. I don’t want employees to feel drudgery and dissatisfaction. If the product is extremely high quality and there is a sense of solidarity and sensitivity among all workers, this can be achieved. For customer satisfaction, there needs to be a high degree of customizability. I hope to achieve this by moving ordering to completely online and digital means. People can still walk in and order on the spot, but there must be a way for customers to be extra considerate to themselves and to the restaurant by ordering in advance, reducing rush and unpredictability improves safety. Ramen restaurants typically have a “toppings” system. You order a base soup, noodle and set of default toppings. I want to completely unlimit this system and allow the customer to choose exactly what they want for themselves. If they have a hard time choosing, the standard option sets should also be available. The Korean gastronomic custom of “banchan” is also a must. That is, free side dishes. Ippudo also employed this complimentary service to customers in the form of spicy bean sprouts and pickled mustard greens. Going back to employee satisfaction, I believe the norm should be that customers bus their own tables unless they are unable. It greatly lightens the load of employees and allows them to focus utterly on quality of food. This business must be a 24h one. The feeling of having your favorite soul food at 4 AM with your closest friends is incomparable. Water must be readily available at all times.
3rd Priority: Flow. Interior design that enables the first two priorities by maximizing efficiency. I wanted to mention feng shui, but it’s just interior design marred by superstition. Pure efficiency is the third priority. We need the correct size utensils, the correct size platters and bowls and cauldrons and pans, the correct and hygienic storage methods, accessibility, we need the space between point A and point B to be reduced and unimpeded as much as possible. This could be the reason for the success of the ramen chain Ichiran. You are sat in an isolated booth right next to the kitchen. Many contend Ichiran to be greater than Ippudo. I disagree, as the flair Ippudo possesses cannot be discounted. Ichiran’s ordering system is superior in its customizability though. Why consider one as “better” when you should just learn from them both? Ippudo is more expensive and artisanal, Ichiran is more of a fast food experience. I am not willing to sacrifice quality, nor convenience. Max out both parameters. Revolutionize the industry. How the computers are mounted, where to place the other entertainment modalities, all of this matters. Ping pong with all its movement will disrupt other entertainment, so it must be isolated.
Addendum: Points I wish to emphasize are “chef specialties” and the menu system I envision. I want to have a standard menu of Asian soul food, and other global favorites, but depending on what each individual chef can execute incredibly, allow them to do that too. Put in simpler terms, I don’t want this establishment to simply be mine, I want it to be a shared enterprise of respect, support and appreciation, this cannot be achieved with a rigid menu. The best restaurants in the world have menus that change depending on availability of ingredients. This will likely be the case. The next point, online ordering and ordering in advance is very important as it gives a buffer time for preparation which greatly reduces the burden on the chefs. There should also be incentives for allowing more preparation time. What I mean when I say unlimit the menu is, anything that can be put in a noodle soup or rice dish, should be allowed. My intent is to have three main noodle soups, Vietnamese Rice Noodle Beef Soup, Japanese Pork Bone and Chicken Noodle Soup, and Chinese Soy Braised Beef Noodle soup, each of these comes with their own unique additions like bean sprouts and Thai basil and bok choy and fish cake, roasted garlic oil. I want there to be a sense that you can add anything to anything.
I also have a hypothetical menu to share. It is a bit messy and rudimentary but I hope it’s enticing to you.
Sushi Rolls/thick, thin and hand-style
Pho/Vietnamese Thin Rice Noodle in Clear Beef Soup
Ramen/Japanese thin alkaline noodle in rich pork bone and chicken soup
Chinese Herbal Soy Sauce Beef Noodle Soup
Meat sauce pasta
White sauce pasta
Demi glacé curry
Vietnamese spring roll
House Salad: mixed greens, papaya, mango (inspired by an Italian restaurant in Hawaii)
Katsu, tempura, karaage (Japanese deep frying modalities)+other frying modalities a la carte
Daily special grilled meat rice platter, Vietnamese style
Array of instant noodles for a cheaper option, can be spiced up with add-ons
Taiwanese minced pork belly stew, pork belly bamboo tofu curd stew
Banchan/complimentary side dishes
Custom Burgers, fry varietals
Add ons: typical ramen add ons and more, extensive a la carte options
Conclusion: Anyone, take this idea and run with it. I don’t really care if I’m a part of it. I just think it’s a great idea and the only thing remotely close is Esports Arena in Las Vegas but they are more gaming centered. I don’t think others can put the same type of rigor into both the food and entertainment aspects. I hope we can collaborate though and I think something I’m very skilled at is I can make things understandable to outsiders. I can take something in another language and say OK, but what does this literally translate into in English? I don’t have the coding skills I don’t have the cooking skills I don’t have the interior design skills or any of that really. It’s just a dream. Realistically, I am just an enthusiast of gaming, food and rigor.
Some of the possible issues I can see are: is health consciousness and people taking cooking and nutrition into their own hands a barrier to success? Is 2D gaming as we know it coming to an end? Is gaming addiction being seen for what it really is? Are people realizing how dissatisfying long-term gaming addiction is? I’ve been a gamer for many years I’ve sunk thousands and thousands of hours into gaming as if it were a job, I was a streamer on Twitch and streamed daily for 400 days. I’ve taken breaks from gaming and battled with it thinking it a childish thing but I think there is great bonding potential in gaming and gaming is an extremely powerful medium. Perhaps if gaming moves into a more VR oriented future we can shift resources into that, and systems capable of high-level VR likely won’t be everyday household things so it could be an attraction. I think there will always be a place for gaming because we are a generation that grew up on it and learned so much from it. I’d love to integrate IRL and gaming-style streaming into the business itself. I question the relevance of “pure restaurants” in the future and I see that rigidity stifling possibility.
To truly finish this write up off, there are two things that will set this place apart: the tenets and their priority levels, and the sheer joy of such a varied, safe, clean, considerate, respectful environment.
For Tristan and José.