While most menu categories have been turned into dozens of major national chains, few brands outside of Panda Express, Pei Wei and P.F. Chang’s have managed to scale Chinese food into a national business.
San Francisco-based Lazy Susan hopes to defy the odds. In fact, founder Hanson Li has the lofty ambition of becoming the Domino’s of Chinese takeout — in other words, an efficient, small-footprint operation that can quickly scale into thousands of locations. To so, he’s designed Lazy Susan to have a streamlined menu and tech-driven operation that can quickly and easily meet the needs of Chinese food fans.
Li, who is also founder of Salt Partners — which counts brands like Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream, Crenn Dining Group, Horsefeather, Last Rites and B Side among its portfolio — sees opportunity in the “e-commerce-ification” of the restaurant industry, where retail giants like Amazon have completely disrupted the consumer buying journey.
He joined the latest episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches to talk about how his father inspired him to open the Domino’s of Chinese takeout concepts, the potential for Chinese food in the U.S., and what e-commerce-ification looks like in the restaurant industry. In this conversation, you’ll find out why:
- A takeout-specific restaurant allows you emphasize better cooking and packaging for that kind of service
- In designing a takeout concept, focus on simplicity and crowd favorites
- Even if Chinese food in America isn’t totally authentic, there is a real identity to it
- Customer expectations have been forever changed because of e-commerce — and everyone, including independents and high-end restaurants, is effected
- Smarter use of technology is allowing emerging concepts to scale faster than ever before
Contact Sam Oches at [email protected].