The Intuitive Chef – Jimmy Liang of JP Fuji Group

Jimmy Liang, Founder, CEO & Chef of JP Fuji Group

Jimmy Liang, the Founder, CEO & Chef of JP Fuji Group, grew his company’s revenue from $8.6 million in 2014 to $14.3 million in 2017, a 66% increase, and to around $19 million in 2018.  

JP Fuji Group is the largest operating Pan-Asian restaurant group in the northeast region.  

In this interview with Eversprint‘s Malcolm Lui, Jimmy shares how he and his team accelerated their high value sales by:  

  • Capitalizing on the the surge of new property developments in the Boston area.  
  • Proactively addressing issues that limit same-store sales growth.  
  • Improving employee retention and job satisfaction by providing both work and non-work related training and education.  

Computer generated transcript - JP Fuji Group Interview (transcribed by Sonix)

Download the "Computer generated transcript - JP Fuji Group Interview" audio file directly from here. It was automatically transcribed by Sonix.ai below:

Malcolm Lui: Welcome to the High Value Sales Show of Eversprint.com. I'm Malcolm Lui, the managing member of Eversprint, and today we're speaking with Jimmy Liang, the Founder, CEO & Chef of JP Fuji Group, the largest operating Pan-Asian restaurant group in the North East region. Welcome to the call Jimmy.

Jimmy Liang: Thank you Malcolm. Thank you for having me.

Malcolm Lui: Jimmy, you grew your company's revenue from $8.6 million in 2014 to $14.3 million in 2017, a 66% increase, and in 2018 you hit around $19 million. Before we talk about you grew your company so fast, can you briefly share what your company does beyond my quick intro, and how your company differs from the competition?

Jimmy Liang: Sure. First of all the JP fusion group owns and operates the Pan Asian restaurants with a specialty in sushi because that's what I do. I've been doing sushi since I was 14 open up my first restaurant when I was 19. And from there I just put my head down. I kept working as opportunities arose. I jump on it. If it's the right ones. And work hard with my team developing great food developing good service training programs for our staff and I believe that's how we did it.

Malcolm Lui: All right. And how would you say you differ from the other restaurant groups that are in the northeast region.

Jimmy Liang: I think what's different is that basically every single planner I have we're all chefs one way or another such as myself. My specialty is sushi. And then one of my partners he does kitchen food. I have a student who I made and then he heads up the head of the sushi program for loan Thai business. One of my brothers is actually in charge of the kitchen food too. And and then my director of operations he's actually my cousin Tony. And so it's it's our company it's very family orientated but it's not a family business. It just so happens that I employed a lot of my family but the business was started between myself and my best friend Peter and we started the business back in 1998.

Malcolm Lui: Right now you see making kitchen food what do you mean my kitchen food.

Jimmy Liang: Kitchen food is a Japanese kitchen food such as you know you've got your temperature sukiyaki is your teriyaki is. And then I over the years I've also expanded into a couple of wok stations inside the kitchen for cook cooked wok tossed foods.

Malcolm Lui: Okay. So no curries then

Jimmy Liang: And one of my restaurants we have a Japanese curry over at the cafe we serve a wide variety of sushi. It's a quick serve restaurant and we actually have a homemade curry that's on the menu there. It's extremely popular.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Right yeah. There was a friend of mine. She has me. She's a Japanese person ask me where I want to go off for lunch. I said Yeah let's get some Japanese curry. She kind of laughed because she said oh that's what we eat at home. We don't go out for that. The

Jimmy Liang: Yeah. You know and so I mean there's all different levels of of of of restaurants and different levels of food. Yes certain things are viewed more as home style cooking. But I think that's also acceptable in the. And then in the marketplace in terms of a restaurant. So like I said our Curry is very popular. We sell we pretty much sell out of it every day. And we only make a certain amount. So first come first since

Malcolm Lui: No. I'm getting hungry for some curry. I haven't had Japanese curry in a while that might be my dinner tonight.

Jimmy Liang: It

Malcolm Lui: So

Jimmy Liang: Sounds good. Sounds

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Jimmy Liang: Good to me.

Malcolm Lui: So you

Jimmy Liang: Oh yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Eat your revenue grew from 8 million eight point six million in 2014 to 19 million in 2018.

Jimmy Liang: Yep.

Malcolm Lui: What were the three biggest drivers of your growth over the past four years.

Jimmy Liang: Really it's been a lot of opportunities in terms of there's a lot of new developments in Boston and whenever there's a new development a lot of developers are looking for restaurants and restaurant owners to work with them and I think I kind of took advantage of the boom at the time and so after I negotiated all different sorts of deals for my restaurants I just went ahead and I started building them one after the other. So they increased revenue that's really in the increased amount of stores that I did. So with every restaurant I open up I mean the revenue stream is there and that's why it grew so much. For example I open a restaurant one of my restaurants. Let's say the one in Boston. Right away I was already doing a couple million. We've been there for two years now we're closing on 4 million. So as the business stays in business a little bit longer people get to know us more people come in sales grow. Therefore the revenue grows. So but that's kind of the way how I've been able to do it was a huge focus on serving great quality food and giving my customers great service when they do come in.

Malcolm Lui: Right now what well pricing wise. Where do you position yourself mid and high end low end.

Jimmy Liang: We're really in the mid mid and I'm category

Malcolm Lui: Okay

Jimmy Liang: Because I firmly believe in giving people great food at a very reasonable and affordable price. So we're not really competing with high end restaurants although our food is very high end. And the way our restaurants are it's it's it's nice mid level but it's a that's that's the whole entire package. It's the

Malcolm Lui: Right

Jimmy Liang: Type of.

Malcolm Lui: Ok so the biggest driver then is this the growth of in Boston of new developments in new writing along with that and opening up new branches new teeth and at the

Jimmy Liang: Yelp.

Malcolm Lui: Same time. Would you lump this as a separate driver or maybe altogether namely the sales of your same store restaurants year

Jimmy Liang: Well

Malcolm Lui: On year have been growing on its own.

Jimmy Liang: Within within same store there is continuous growth and if one restaurant stagnates a little bit I look at that restaurant and see what I can do to increase the growth again whether it's in terms of changing menu items increasing specials having better chefs or if it's Service. Then we focus on the service issue. I mean within this business there's never a lack of issues per say.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Jimmy Liang: There's always something I'm dealing with but all in all it's staying focused. Working with my team and addressing every issue as they come across my lap and just. And the other thing is it's it's it's educating people as well. I believe in investing in my workforce. I actually give a lot of my employees the ones that wants it. English classes I actually offer them financial classes as well and that's just on the side and then in terms of training. We have very vigorous training process for one foot fit for the new high res

Malcolm Lui: Right. OK so let me recap to see if I'm on the same page with you on the drivers of your growth. 1 you open up new branches. Number two you focus on growing your same store sales and number three provided your your team with training and education that goes beyond just the work training but they would appreciate

Jimmy Liang: Absolutely

Malcolm Lui: An English and finance side.

Jimmy Liang: Absolutely because I think a lot of business owners they miss the mark on you know in terms of looking at their employees as an investment because you human capital is huge. And within my business. I mean with servers and chefs and driver's bosses. It's a big operation. And for me to understand that and realize that and then to put more money into the investment side of people capital press day I think that's really helped our business quite a bit.

Malcolm Lui: Right now are you finding it hard to find staff for your restaurants. I hear that quite often among various industries with employment

Jimmy Liang: Oh

Malcolm Lui: Be the low unemployment being so low right now.

Jimmy Liang: Oh yeah. I mean it's it's it's always a challenge in terms of whether it's during this economic cycle or the one previous. I mean just like every trade has its own timing has its own ebb and flow. Some I mean there's been times where we've benefited from like you said you know the the the the higher unemployment rates then we'll be able to get higher quality people but when the unemployment rate goes low I mean we're left with whatever or whoever that was to come into play and at that point we just have to work with what we have. And and but beyond that beyond working just working with what we have I mean it's really educating everybody about it. So I think it's it's it's it's tough to find good people at during any economic cycle. One of the big one of the bigger differences with me is that a lot of my employees. They they they actually are new immigrants from China because I'm Chinese and we actually yeah. So a lot of those same employees were the first job that they have. When they first arrived to the United States America and a lot of they stay working with me for a long time because they realize what kind of company we are and that we care about them and we want to help them. I mean oftentimes my managers because they are bilingual they'll be translating a letter for any one of my employees or staffers if they don't if they get a letter in the mail that they can't read it. They'll just bring it into work. We'll have somebody read it for them translate it for them and make sure that they understand what's going on.

Malcolm Lui: Right. And it's

Jimmy Liang: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Pretty important. And

Jimmy Liang: Oh yeah.

Malcolm Lui: I imagine Hannah I think you know being Chinese myself I imagine if you give them the opportunity to

Jimmy Liang: I'm.

Malcolm Lui: Have their first job in the United States and that goes a long way among Chinese folks and I think that

Jimmy Liang: Oh absolutely. And oftentimes we actually. So a bunch my chefs because they're from China and they tell me because of technology the world's only gotten smaller. And they tell they constantly tell me that Fuji is rather well known in the Tai Shan area in China because that's where I'm from. And a lot of immigrants from there even before they come here they already know. Or they or they already realize that Fuji could be one of their landing spots in terms of a job. So when they come to the United States they're looking for jobs where we're usually one of the first destinations. And I can't say for all Chinese or all Asians from other areas of China but definitely a lot of the Taiwanese from Tai and China when they first come here they definitely seek us out.

Malcolm Lui: Right now do you actively go to China and Japan and look for staff

Jimmy Liang: Looking for staff not so much because you know we're in the United States America. My interest is in the economy of our country. And you know I think there are plenty of people good abled body people here in the United States that can and and do hold a lot of the jobs that I have. I mean at some point I become international or I grow even bigger. And if I need talent elsewhere that I can't find in the United States. Absolutely I would do that. But at this point in time. Up until this point in time I have not had to do that. And we actually train a lot of our chefs ourselves. We put a lot of time and efforts into it. I

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Jimmy Liang: I have one student and he has gone on to take 12 students and the majority of my head chefs are my grand students. So they're learning everything from soup to nuts from start to finish from me or my student and they can work. And so right away they learn our system they work within our system and they develop within our system system.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay. So you've never had a need to at this time to go abroad and find a experienced chef for that type of cuisine that you want to have at your restaurant

Jimmy Liang: No not yet. No I mean I again you know we have all sorts of talent here in the United States America. And

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Jimmy Liang: You know we and I love working with everybody that works with me. We have a lot of talented chefs. For example when I opened when I first wanted to open my B show chain it's an authentic Chinese Bistro and that's not food that I do myself but it's food that I grew up eating. And but I had always had a strong desire to do that. And so when I first concept at the restaurant I wrote the menu and then I put out the word that I'm looking for Chinese chefs and sure enough one of the biggest chefs in Chinatown and here in Boston he came to me and he wants to work with me because he heard through other chefs that I'm a good boss I'm that I'm actually a chef and that you know I'm nice to people and that I'm good to work with as long as you work hard. And. So he sort he sought me out and he wanted to work for me. And he's still working for me right now. And then after that as I do as I started doing different restaurants with systems and stuff. I mean I actually employed the best chefs that Chinatown had to offer at the time and now they're all under my employment because a lot of these guys they've been working in Chinatown for years and years and not to knock anybody or anybody's business press say but a lot of Chinese restaurants the kitchens are not the cleanest the working environment is not the most comfortable.

Jimmy Liang: And so we provide something different. I because I have a Japanese food background and with Japanese cuisine cleanliness while should be. I mean I think with every cuisine plainly cleanliness should be the number one priority. But sad to say that it is not but I was trained in a way where cleanliness is next to godliness and I need my places to be clean. Therefore all my kitchens are very clean. And so a lot of these chefs when they come they already know what what to expect. Now they're working in a nice comfortable environment everything's clean they up clean you know they upkeep everything too. We have a work schedule. I mean the first time I presented my my my cleaning schedule to my shop to it to one of my new Chinese chefs and they looked at it. They said and I said is that a problem. And they said no it's not a problem but it's just something that we're not used to doing.

Malcolm Lui: Right

Jimmy Liang: And so I would work with them on it a few times and afterwards then they just follow my protocol and they do exactly what what they need to do. And over time that's become a part of our culture are shuffling culture or our kitchen culture say that we want things to be super clean. You can eat

Malcolm Lui: Right

Jimmy Liang: You can practically eat off the floor not that you would want to. Yeah we're very clean.

Malcolm Lui: Right now.

Jimmy Liang: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Yes. Anyone who has a cleaner kitchen a Japanese restaurant or a Chinese restaurant will almost always say Japanese is this. I mean this is how it is.

Jimmy Liang: Right.

Malcolm Lui: Is simply

Jimmy Liang: But

Malcolm Lui: Just because at the Chinese restaurants they just don't take that extra effort to keep that extra layer of whatever and it just it's just building up over time.

Jimmy Liang: Yeah well you know I think a lot of it has to do with the kind of people that are in these jobs. And when I say this I. And if I'm offending anybody that's listening to this I apologize very much ahead in advance. I'm just very frank with my words. I'm just very honest about it. It is what it is. And some you know sometimes a lot of the chefs that that we have people working you know that are the restaurants I was working for them maybe they didn't come from a shuffling school background maybe they didn't come from a higher upbringing per say but not to say that people that you know that grows up with a good background that they're not dirty people are people. But then there are certain characteristics that comes with people and certain social confines of their lives or even financial. So I mean you know it's it's understandable to a certain degree but it's up to the business owners themselves to make sure that everybody operates within their working standards. And so if you have an owner that has a certain standard that they want to push out there and work with the chefs. Well that's very possible. They just need to educate these chefs on what needs to be done and the processes that comes with it and you work with these chefs educate them and make sure that they execute your vision. But I feel like a lot of restaurant owners they may or may not do that but because of the way I was trained as a chef and and then and the way I was raised my grandmother used to say to me that you know we're poor but we're not trash and you need to stop acting.

Malcolm Lui: Now

Jimmy Liang: So

Malcolm Lui: They're getting

Jimmy Liang: Yes I mean she she kept the house. I mean we I come from nothing but my grandmother constantly tapped our house completely clean. She would clean the floors probably once a day dusting at least twice a week. You know she really put a lot of work into keeping a clean house for all the kids and all the adults that lives with her. I mean my family is no different than any other modern immigrant family. I was raised by my grandmother. And you know just like a lot of kids out there are because when when we first came to the States my parents were always very busy working. And trying to put. Food on the table roof over our heads and Clothing on our backs and. And when you first come to the United States those are the those are the big challenges that my parents were always constantly working to make sure that my brothers and I we had the basics and we did. And and my SO my grandmother was the one that actually really good care of us myself and all my cousins as well. But I believe my grandmother raised us right. And and I think a lot of that I've taken into my business and and try to expand on that as well.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Yeah. But I think a grandmother be proud seeing what you've done so far and I think you're I think you're right about the ultimate is up to the owner. Because I've been to a very popular fast food Chinese style chain

Jimmy Liang: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: Right. You

Jimmy Liang: Right.

Malcolm Lui: Know counter style in their kitchens are very clean. Right. And it's

Jimmy Liang: Right.

Malcolm Lui: Because they chose to maybe have it be that way. Right. So again

Jimmy Liang: Right.

Malcolm Lui: It is all down to the processes and and the objectives of the owners.

Jimmy Liang: Oh absolutely. Absolutely.

Malcolm Lui: Now when you talk about new developments in Boston driving your growth in a time like shopping malls strip malls or or even

Jimmy Liang: No.

Malcolm Lui: Developments where people are building a condo when they want to have restaurants nearby so they reach out to encourage

Jimmy Liang: Oh yeah.

Malcolm Lui: You to.

Jimmy Liang: It's exactly what you just said. It's really a lot of apartment buildings condos because every time a developer build something usually there's retail on the bottom and retail you what you're going to get for retail is usually going to be a restaurant a CBS or 7-Eleven or something and then it's up to up to the developers to decide on what they want. And so the developers that wanted high end Japanese restaurants or Asian concepts and their buildings they would call me and I would sit down with them and see if it's a good fit to see what kind of rent structure we're looking at. You know the potential for growth and all those things. Yes. So that's that's that's what's really been driving it.

Malcolm Lui: And how would you know Kate dive a little bit deeper and how you would evaluate if a new condo building or complex is coming up and it makes sense for you to open a location there.

Jimmy Liang: So it's it's funny that you just asked this because I just had to explain it to some of my staff. I you know the way I looked at it. So my uncle. He he doesn't speak a lick of English. And but if you give him an engine whether it whether the words that are scribed on that engine whether it's German Korean Japanese percent and whatever it is or English he can't. He doesn't understand it. But what he can do is take apart the whole entire thing. Break it down put everything back together. And that's his talent. And so certain people see things differently. And so for me every time I go visit a location first I would you know look at the location the surrounding area see where it is in terms of growth. And at the beginning stages of it in the middle of it or maybe the end of it. So I would have to think of that myself because sometimes there's new development and then there's redevelopment. So I would take all those things in and of course you know the rent structure if I can afford to be there what kind of neighborhood is it how much can I charge for food. Although I take all those things into consideration and then I really need to step outside of the space that I'm touring and then I would have to kind of close my eyes and see if I can see anything happening with this. And within five minutes if I think you know that I can make a go at this I'll I'll I'll definitely work and try to work on that location but if I'm staying that 10 15 minutes and I'm racking my brain trying to see if I could see some sort of business that would come out of this what a good run structure. And if I can't see it I just won't see it and I won't and I won't work with that location.

Malcolm Lui: Right now

Jimmy Liang: Yes

Malcolm Lui: It sounds

Jimmy Liang: So

Malcolm Lui: Very much intuitive more than quantitative way

Jimmy Liang: You're

Malcolm Lui: Of assessing

Jimmy Liang: Right. Right. And the. But the thing is after I intuitively assess everything I'll start and I work my way backwards and I start looking at different numbers or different data that whether it's developers that's put together or developers hired people help them put together such as median income in the area population in the area age group of residents in that area and out and now work backwards and look at all the data to see if it supports what I'm thinking intuitively. And if it's completely off base there's something wrong. And that's

Malcolm Lui: Right

Jimmy Liang: Probably something I shouldn't be doing. But so far for me I've been very lucky that my intuition has matched with all the data that that that that people have provided for us. And it just see it just happened to work out that way.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Heavy. Have you had any flops so far.

Jimmy Liang: No I can't say that I have

Malcolm Lui: Heavy like for example I've never had a location that you thought would work and it didn't work. So what you then perhaps did not complete failure means that you just remade the entire restaurant to better fit what was demanded

Jimmy Liang: Nope nope nope.

Malcolm Lui: So you gonna be nailing it right

Jimmy Liang: We.

Malcolm Lui: At the get go

Jimmy Liang: Yes since I since 1998 we've been I've been doing this 20 years as a restaurant owner so.

Malcolm Lui: Right. How many branches they have now.

Jimmy Liang: I've I've got eight but I've got because I lost two due to eminent domain within a city that those two restaurants where because of new development and so the city took back my two locations and worked out a reimbursement deal for me and they just took over my business my building. And paid me a certain amount of dollars that we agreed on and I left those two restaurants go because the city needed it for some condo buildings a big parking lot and a park. So you know I'm a team player and

Malcolm Lui: Right

Jimmy Liang: You got and you got to work with the communities that you're in and when the city came to me and talked to me about I said absolutely you won't expect a fight from me. I'm a team player. Let's just get this done.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Jimmy Liang: I don't want a headache. You don't want a headache. I'm not going to cause you any problems and please don't cause me any problems.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Jimmy Liang: And then let's start with a gentlemen's agreement and we'll work out the minute Grady from there on

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay.

Jimmy Liang: The.

Malcolm Lui: How do you guys you negotiate with a city like that how do you how do you sort out a price that everyone's happy with

Jimmy Liang: What usually starts off with. So the process that we had was they gave. So they came and assessed all my all the equipment in the business how much money I'm doing at the time. And then we averaged out two yearly and then let's say if I were to move this business instead of closing it down. What kind of costs it would incur a lot of different factors. But at the end of it it's usually you know they point something out either agree or disagree. And if I disagreed I would give them what I thought the cost would be.

Malcolm Lui: Right

Jimmy Liang: But it's not it's not as aloof as it sounds it's not all about what I think it's what you know numbers backed up let's say if I needed to move a kitchen while I there's a company that I work with that they install my kitchens. Well they don't really install my kitchens but that's why I buy all my equipment from. And they have and they have a relocation service. And so I would talk to them and get a good definitive number from them. And if they said to me Well it's going cost an x amount of dollars and then the city tells me that it's going to cost as well if it doesn't match up then you know that's when we would have to start thinking about it and I would tell them what you know these people I've been working with for a long time they're very reputable. These are you know these are real life prices that we're working with. And so you know they will work with us on that and they work that out the companies but at the end of it it's all about open and honest communication and working with one another and and going from there and both and then both parties needs to agree on on everything in order

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Jimmy Liang: For this to happen.

Malcolm Lui: Yep.

Jimmy Liang: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: So I actually can see that now

Jimmy Liang: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: For your same store sales growth. What type of numbers on average have you been getting on your eight branches

Jimmy Liang: I mean it's so every. I mean you're going to see certain increases at different times of the year and you're going to see certain laws at different times that a year. And so extrapolate all those numbers and let's say if I know I'm going to be a little bit slow in the summertime I need to make adjustments or let's say I know I'm going to be busy in the wintertime I also need to make adjustments and when I say adjustments it's usually the months of food that we order the amount of staffers that we have on hand. That's a big part of it. So with. And so I mean you know sometimes I mean I've seen spikes of you know the business increasing 25 percent in one month. And so when that happens. OK. What what made that happen. Did a marketing campaign go out and that brought more people in. Or was it an interview that I did with somebody whether it's your interview or an interview that I did that I would do with let's say Boston Magazine or the Boston Globe or the Boston some sort of big major publication or was I on TV recently. That kind of stuff. And then once I nail down to. The change that happened and then and then the increased growth. Once I figure that out then I need to think about OK. Now I've got all these people coming in. What am I doing before. That's not helping me bring in business was my service lacking was the quality of food different. So I need to analyze all sorts of different things and then make adjustments as we progress. So I mean it's just the same. Same store sales. Like I said some I mean I I know a lot of you think think of it in terms of years and I do too. But I mean sometimes. For example my block location one month it grew by 30 percent. There's

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Jimmy Liang: Just no rhyme or reason to it.

Malcolm Lui: Any time a month on month. 30 percent

Jimmy Liang: Zia and then and then and then so from one month it grows 30 percent the next month. It's it's maintains that 30 percent of growth.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay. How about

Jimmy Liang: Yes.

Malcolm Lui: On a year on year basis. Typically

Jimmy Liang: You're young and your bases I think we typically see about 10 to 15 percent same store in strong growth.

Malcolm Lui: Okay. Now

Jimmy Liang: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: How does that compare to the industry average for restaurants also in the mid-market and perhaps within the same types of cuisines that you serve as that average above average.

Jimmy Liang: I believe it's above average but also at the same time a lot of restaurant shows they need to understand that the life of your business has a shelf life as well. I mean there's all sorts of statistics out there. And one of those statistics is that an average restaurant has a shelf life of anywhere between 10 to 15 years. So what that means is that you know you open a restaurant and if it makes it to those years and those will be a peak years and after that it starts falling off. So now I've been in business for 20 years. And so that happened to me as well. But I made adjustments. So one of my restaurants I was at one location for about 13 14 years. And I started to see that the restaurant was old. It was a little bit rundown. The quality of food and the quality service is still the same. We still did a very. Good business. But all I hear about you we're talking about is how weathered and tired the restaurant is. And so an opportunity came up I actually taught the same business moved it down the street. But everybody knew that it was the same restaurant just by doing that my business grew 100 percent.

Malcolm Lui: Because you won because it's new in some people's

Jimmy Liang: Yep

Malcolm Lui: Eyes and then to

Jimmy Liang: Yep

Malcolm Lui: You refreshed everything you made

Jimmy Liang: Yep.

Malcolm Lui: Them.

Jimmy Liang: Oh yeah. And on top of that I created a new menu a little bit more sophisticated one a different type of environment Per say. And so I think it's brought in a lot more people than it used to.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Jimmy Liang: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: So you gave up your old location moved a new one

Jimmy Liang: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: And then

Jimmy Liang: Oh

Malcolm Lui: Under

Jimmy Liang: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: You I gave you the chance to reinvent the restaurant a little bit

Jimmy Liang: Yep.

Malcolm Lui: Huh.

Jimmy Liang: Yeah. Oh yeah. And so that's it.

Malcolm Lui: Yep

Jimmy Liang: It's also constant reinvestments back into the business too. I mean a lot of businesses you know their furniture gets old and they don't. And they don't do a damn thing about it right. Or if the floor is

Malcolm Lui: Sticky.

Jimmy Liang: Completely yes sticky Exactly. You know that's not a good that's not a good thing. So you know you need to reinvest right back into the business. And the the the developers that I do business with right away they realize what kind of business owner I am. I'm willing to reinvest right back into the business. I'm constantly investing into my human capital.

Malcolm Lui: Yep

Jimmy Liang: So I think so with my track record of being a business owner a restaurant or a chef. A lot of the developers that I work with they recognize this and they want somebody like me to be to be on their property because they know I'm going to take care of everything. That I'm not just relying on the landlords to do their job. Obviously they have their own due diligence and we communicate about all those things. But I mean I'm not going to call them for every single little thing that happens because we live in the real world. And when certain situations arise you have to take care of it right then and there. Yes I understand protocol that you've got to call somebody who is to call somebody who might need to call somebody else to come come and see you. But with the way we do it sometimes it's a certain situation arises. I'll call the landlord and say hey this is the issue. Can

Malcolm Lui: Yep.

Jimmy Liang: You fight me. Can you send somebody down. And they say no my people are tied up over there and I say you know what. That's fine. I'll seek an alternative solution. I'll find somebody myself. I'll keep you in the loop. Let's work together as a team.

Malcolm Lui: Right

Jimmy Liang: And that's exactly how we approach things.

Malcolm Lui: Now your third driving factory educating your team both for work related things and non-work related stuff. You get a sense of how that has helped you the on the employee satisfaction and retention rate perspective.

Jimmy Liang: Retention or employee retention rate is extremely high. Ever since I've been in the business you know all the way down to servers because a lot of servers they like this switch they go from one restaurant to another no problem. A lot of my servers they like not just not even just servers but I'm just using them example because that's more of a turnover. But overall it's about caring about your people understanding what that what they go through. I mean if something's happening to them on a personal level it's going to affect their work quality and those things. A lot of those human factors that you know we just need to understand not to say that I'm a pushover of a CEO and that every time somebody calls in sick that you know they don't get in trouble for it. Obviously he was going to try to do things in very inventive in different ways. But when you constantly communicate with your staff and you understand where they are and they understand where you are more than likely they're going to try to be better workers for you because they understand that it's a team effort and if they see that I'm giving them English classes just so that because my stick is because when I was growing up I was the only. I was my family translator. I

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Jimmy Liang: Was I took my my my my cousins that came to the states. I would get them enrolled in school the adults I would have to go and help them with Social Security cards green cards

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Jimmy Liang: And even when I was a child my grandfather and I would walk up to one of the the the old neighborhood pharmacies as it was actually called a neighborhood pharmacy. We would go in there and pay our gas bill our electric electrical bill.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Jimmy Liang: So through personal experience I've realized that even if this just one person within the family that's that can get around a little bit better than most people can.

Malcolm Lui: Makes a big difference.

Jimmy Liang: Yeah absolutely it makes a huge difference in their lives. For example something as small as getting a letter translated. Now you're new come into this country you don't read English. You get a letter from the government you're going to be worried a little bit

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Jimmy Liang: And you don't know what it is and then. But if they if they have hardships finding people to help them even translate that letter when they come to work that's all they're going to be thinking about

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. That has a drag on their day.

Jimmy Liang: Right. It's a drag in the day exactly like you said. And so we try to. So the base the basis of what we try to do is to reduce the amount of drag that people have in their day

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Jimmy Liang: So

Malcolm Lui: That's

Jimmy Liang: That so that they can become a better worker for you at the end.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah it's a good play.

Jimmy Liang: Right. So it's it's a lot of it it's just team effort and understanding people and trying to work with people really.

Malcolm Lui: Yep. And that's led to higher retention rate and higher employee happiness to.

Jimmy Liang: Oh absolutely.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Jimmy Liang: Absolutely I mean I've put on financial classes for people working with local banks

Malcolm Lui: Yep.

Jimmy Liang: Because you know for example when I when When my family was first came to the States I was I still remember I was in the fourth grade and I want to learn how to play the drums. And so I said to my folks I said to my father I said Dad I want to learn I'll play the drums and he goes OK well what do we need to do. I said

Malcolm Lui: Cool

Jimmy Liang: Well I need I need to go rent drums. And he goes OK. Then we'll do that on my day off. I said OK dad.

Malcolm Lui: Awesome that

Jimmy Liang: Right. And

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Jimmy Liang: So. And so Some of my dad's day off he took me to while I took him to the place where we needed to go. And. Right away I went in there. I went to when I played drums. I want to write on drums. And the salesperson I still remember like it was yesterday and he says to me he goes well do you have your checkbook with you. I said Oh yeah I have a checkbook with me. He goes OK well do you have a credit card. And I go what's a credit card.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Jimmy Liang: And so he start explaining to me and then I turn around I ask my dad go Dad you have a credit card and he goes What's a credit card.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Jimmy Liang: And so. Right. So I displayed it to my father and my father's. Oh I'm sorry I don't have a credit card. And then it's just my father said that I got you know a dad that's that's OK. I don't really want to learn I'll play the drums anyways. It's too noisy. I said you know you know I'm going to think about a different instrument and when I decide on a different one I'll let you know. I said

Malcolm Lui: Okay.

Jimmy Liang: But we're not going to learn. I said but I'm not going to learn learn not to do the drums. And he looks at me and he goes Oh you've been talking about is these drums for weeks now and all of a sudden now you're not going to play the drums as a dad don't worry about it's totally fine. And he looks at me he goes I'm sorry I don't have a credit card and I go dad. That's not your fault. It's not something that you knew. Not something that I knew. So it's not your fault that you don't have a credit card. But you know it's fine. And so through personal experiences as such you know that. And that's that was one of my driver's driving forces to give a lot of my employees. Financial classes because they need to understand what credit is what paying taxes mean how to buy a home. Understanding the the all the sudden this new economic and monetary system that the United States has to offer

Malcolm Lui: Yep

Jimmy Liang: And by educating my workforce on that I think it helps their quality of life quite a bit.

Malcolm Lui: Oh yeah definitely.

Jimmy Liang: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: Can't make decisions. Not having the knowledge to make them.

Jimmy Liang: Exactly

Malcolm Lui: Switching gears a little bit.

Jimmy Liang: Sure.

Malcolm Lui: What are your 2019 plans in terms of sales in new store openings.

Jimmy Liang: Usually when I playing plan to vote I start with very basic stuff In terms of money goals. I have rough estimates of where I want to land but that's not my driving force.

Malcolm Lui: Okay.

Jimmy Liang: So what I usually do is. So I'm still on a path of expansion and I still want to expand and I'm still expanding. So to answer your question in 20 1990 I'll be opening a high end food kiosk a sushi kiosk in the financial district here in Boston. So that's in the plans. And then I mean right away you know with a brand new business like that I've never been in a food hall. So this is completely new to me but at the end of the day I know what my base expenses are going to be and I know and I'm hoping for a certain amount of sales. And one of the reasons why these developers are asking me to go in there because we have a decent name here in the bus and the state of Massachusetts and that I'm able to draw people in there.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Jimmy Liang: Even even just when I was out there looking at the location I ran into a lot of people I was just walking by saying hello to me and I didn't even know some of them

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Jimmy Liang: If not most of them. So that was a great sign for me to know that a lot of my customers are actually in the financial district. So when I started thinking about this this kiosk this sushi kiosk at the food is the most important thing to me. So I actually just crafted a menu as of last night and I gave to Chloe. She's gonna put it together for me and we'll send it over to these developers. So that's one project I'm working on there's another one that's coming up in Cambridge. I'm not ready to talk about that just yet but all in all this year I can anticipate definitely one opening if not two to three openings actually and in the meanwhile all this is happening. I'm working on a line of sources that my restaurants currently already use and they're all original recipes from me. Because I've been the chef and so I'm working on putting a line of sauces together so that I can either sell it at retail or to other restaurants or for distribution. I actually also signed a TV contract that's supposed to be I'm supposed to be shooting some sort of scripted reality television show for

Malcolm Lui: Scripted reality. That's funny

Jimmy Liang: It's an oxymoron in itself isn't it.

Malcolm Lui: The

Jimmy Liang: Right but something. So I mean I have a lot of different plans in the works and actually Chloe's helping me work on a on a clothing line as well. So I'm I'm trying to do things a little bit differently but everything always ties right back to the restaurant business because that's what I do on a day to day basis and that's how I earn my paycheck. And it's what I know best. So everything always goes right back to right back to that. Yeah

Malcolm Lui: Right. So from a marketing and sales perspective what you think are your biggest challenges for 2019 to hit your soft objectives your rough objectives

Jimmy Liang: I hate to say but it's cost.

Malcolm Lui: Really

Jimmy Liang: Oh yeah. Marketing costs advertising costs. It's a lot of money whether you work with for example I and I won't name who. So for a long time everybody had always asked me who my publicist is. But I really don't have one. But for not having a publicist in magazines radios TV friends print ads quite a bit. And so people always ask me who my publicist is and I said I don't have one. I said Is that something I should seek out. And this is a couple of years a few years back. This is when I was going kind of crazy with a lot of growth. And I expect. The growth will also start again this year because I took a couple of years off from opening restaurants and from working on new projects just to focus on the existing. And now that I've done that I reshot up my infrastructure in terms of my business. So now I'll probably be seeing another explosion of growth in the coming. Years because I've got things lined up and things like that. So but yeah I mean it's it's it's it's. That's where we're at right now. But a lot of it is yes I. So I actually sought out this publicity company and I went to see them. We

Malcolm Lui: Okay.

Jimmy Liang: Sat down we sat down and out of no. And the one of the first thing that they asked me was is who does your marketing and advertising been and how much do they charge. And I looked at them I said oh why. And they said because for us to be able to provide you with this level of service we would need a retainer of about eighty thousand dollars a year. And I said Well that's a lot of money. And they said well you know what we do is it doesn't you know it's. It's you know we get your name out. So again who does your stuff now. And I looked at them as a me myself and I

Malcolm Lui: Okay

Jimmy Liang: And and then then they were like how how how have you been able to do this how have you been able to get yourself on so many things. And I said I kind of don't. I said I honestly I just put my head down and I keep working all the time and just you know see things you know and then let things. And then then let the chips fall where they may. And that's how I did it. So still so after meeting with that company it actually reinvigorated myself in terms of what I can do for the business versus seeking outside help

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Jimmy Liang: And advertising and all those things I mean we've worked with different advertising companies and it's just a lot of money. And then the rate of return on average size when pieces let's say you send out 10000 menus you'll be lucky to get a return rate of five to 10 percent of people that you that you send to. So I mean doing all the numbers and things like that we really try to I really try to keep a very conservative budget in terms of marketing and advertising costs. But that's. But that's extremely prohibitive for a lot of restaurants out there.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. When you say you keep a conservative budget you're talking like 10 percent of your revenue and 5 percent

Jimmy Liang: No I mean every year I probably spend a couple of thousand bucks if that at all.

Malcolm Lui: Wow that's that's minimal.

Jimmy Liang: Oh yeah. I mean yeah it's very minimal but I mean you know the first time I did an advertising piece was let's see I was probably 21 years old and this little girl from a local volleyball booster club came and asked me if I would do an ad in there and their booster club page and I said How much is that she says twenty five dollars. I said okay I couldn't afford that.

Malcolm Lui: All right.

Jimmy Liang: And so that would. So that was really my first advertising piece that I did.

Malcolm Lui: Well you still have that.

Jimmy Liang: I'm sure I have it somewhere.

Malcolm Lui: It's worth framing

Jimmy Liang: Oh yeah. But it was you know twenty five bucks. It was you know to support the local high school

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Jimmy Liang: You know. I thought it was a great cause. So but but overall I mean as time went on you know I just constantly put my head down and kept working again and I worked with the community quite a bit. And so a lot of our advertising and marketing is really from word of mouth from a lot of my regular customers. Again you treat people right they'll treat you right. And and that's. And that's something that I firmly believe in.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay

Jimmy Liang: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: So

Jimmy Liang: Oh

Malcolm Lui: You've never

Jimmy Liang: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Tried that the likes of Groupon for example

Jimmy Liang: Ok. Well Groupon those things we do do them here and they're not all the time but honestly sometimes I mean I've turned Groupon I've turned a lot of different sites down because the amounts of dollars that they want I just don't think it's it's good that I can afford it anyways or that any business owner can afford. For example I mean you're getting 70 cents on the dollar back and they get the 30 cents. And for restaurant owners especially in this day and age a profit margin is 10 to 15 percent.

Malcolm Lui: Right

Jimmy Liang: So I'm losing money if I you know if I don't get a good deal with Groupon. But luckily I've been able to use my business to leverage for better rates because I my business is it's not I mean I still think it's a small business but to a lot of you know companies that wants clients such as myself that owns groups of restaurants we become kind of a bigger client to them and so so so so so they're working so they're more and more than likely to work with me on that kind of stuff. And if they can't give me the rate that I want then I just won't do it.

Malcolm Lui: Yet they

Jimmy Liang: So.

Malcolm Lui: Are arguably though losing money on a Groupon customer could make sense right. If you know and you have the data to support it to give you comfort you know that there likely some percentage of them are going to come back and then when you work out the numbers it makes sense you're just paying to acquire customer a repeat customer.

Jimmy Liang: In a sense yes but there's so many factors into that. I mean when a new customer comes in especially you're paying for it. Right. But you don't know who's who. And but.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Jimmy Liang: And you only know towards the end of the meal when they pay. So you can't really offer somebody exceptional service or exceptional food per say. So every time we do some sort of thing with Groupon I I let everybody know we need full staff on management. You guys need to stay focused on the service. We were expecting a new a new batch of customers coming in and you don't know who's who. Let's put our best foot forward and we do that every day at premium anyways. But when you do know definitely something's happening you're going to try to you know you're going to try to elaborate on that a little bit more and make sure that your staff understands what you need to do.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Jimmy Liang: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Going back a little bit. Now you mentioned

Jimmy Liang: He

Malcolm Lui: Earlier your biggest challenge is coming on the cost side from marketing and sales

Jimmy Liang: Oh

Malcolm Lui: But

Jimmy Liang: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Then later on you share with me only spending a couple thousand a year on your on your marketing and advertising.

Jimmy Liang: Right.

Malcolm Lui: So is there. Am I missing a piece of the piece of the picture here.

Jimmy Liang: I think the piece of picture that you're missing is probably that's the strong word of mouth that we have from people

Malcolm Lui: Okay.

Jimmy Liang: Because I've been in business for about 20 years and when I first started I didn't even have a liquor license and my weight and I was 21 in order for me to get one. And so I think my story had some traction and from very early from them from the very early stages of my business career I'd been written up in newspapers because of that story I was written up in newspapers because I was a young owner

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Jimmy Liang: And then people like to talk about the challenges that I had. You know getting a liquor license because I simply was not old enough. A lot of people gravitated towards towards the good story that we had I suppose. And we have a huge almost cult like following word. Yeah I believe the word of mouth and and our loyal customers. That's what a lot of people are not getting. But that's something that we have because we've worked 20 years put our hearts and souls into every single customer making sure that they have the best quality of food and the best service that we can that we can provide them. And over time I think we've built a very strong following. People are rooting for us. They're still rooting for us. And I'm just I'm just happy and and then and then. And I'm extremely grateful for all the support that I've gotten from the community at large.

Malcolm Lui: Sure.

Jimmy Liang: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Now. Now are you asking your customers for their email addresses asking for their phone numbers putting them in their loyalty programs of any sort.

Jimmy Liang: I mean I start a loyalty program a while a long time ago when I was younger but because of the challenges of automating everything computers and that kind of stuff everything had to put in manually. But the cost of doing what big companies do in terms of you know loyalty cards and all those things using computer systems to to to help you update all the information and stuff like that. It's. Too cost prohibitive again. So our loyalty program kind of has fallen off track but once I think once I can afford to do these things I will bring it back in I and I want to do it the right way. But in the time being I mean whenever I see regular customers here here here here here's an extra sushi roll or

Malcolm Lui: Right

Jimmy Liang: Or here's a couple extra appetizers. Oh I was in the back cooking something and this is really great. You need to try this or I have a nice piece of tuna that just came and I just cut it this morning you should have this. And you know and and so like I'm in so. So that's kind of how we build the business up a little bit. And on top of it Facebook is free. Yelp is free. You know Instagram is free. A lot of social media platforms are free and we try to take full advantage of the free platforms that we do.

Malcolm Lui: Right

Jimmy Liang: So I think that also generates quite a bit of business. I mean like on Facebook you can do. You can set a 10 dollar budget and that that ten dollars they'll shoot out different types of advertising stuff to certain people and once they reach the 10 dollar goal then they don't do it anymore. So I mean like I strategically place certain ads at different at different times of whether it's the year the month or the day.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Jimmy Liang: Yeah. So I mean I mean I mean one of the keys to a lot of small business owners is Yes learn how to utilize your free media platforms because that's where it all is right now

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Jimmy Liang: And

Malcolm Lui: Yeah there's

Jimmy Liang: Then.

Malcolm Lui: A lot of reach from that

Jimmy Liang: Oh yeah and the days of sending out menus to customers. Those days are kind of long gone. And even for me one of the things that I'm doing right now is I'm so in my back office I actually have another I have a social media person slash marketing person and she no actually she's. I have a graphics person and then I have a social media person. So it's a team of two people. And then with the direction of whether it's coming from me or my my director of operations who's my cousin Tony or sometimes even Khloe they'll take the directions from us and run with it. But everything is extremely strategic. And so I think one of the best things that a small business owner can do is to understand this platform to learn how to use them because they're offering

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Yeah definitely. Three is good.

Jimmy Liang: Oh yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Three last questions where you say

Jimmy Liang: Show.

Malcolm Lui: You had a you had you decide to go with a billboard along the freeway one of three ways the Boston area that's moving at a good clip. Typically these billboards people only have six seconds to read a billboard before they drive by. What is your billboard message

Jimmy Liang: My billboard message.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Jimmy Liang: I see I'm I'm terrible at these things. I'm terrible at that that these sales things you know I mean six seconds I don't know something along the line of the highest quality sushi been in business for 20 years. Serve over 400 pounds of fish per day.

Malcolm Lui: Yes

Jimmy Liang: That's

Malcolm Lui: Pretty good

Jimmy Liang: Much. Yeah yeah. So. So I think you know it's giving people facts about my business to to to basically market or advertise without doing marketing or advertising which I say.

Malcolm Lui: Yes. How many people as 400 pounds of fish feed

Jimmy Liang: Honestly that it's on a daily average I think we serve about I don't know I don't know how many thousands of people we serve every day honestly.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Jimmy Liang: I don't have that stat with me. If I looked into it I'm sure I'll I'll I'll know. But but from what I can see we serve I don't know any way between. I don't know three four thousand people a day at least. It's

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Jimmy Liang: Gotta be. Yeah. It's gotta be

Malcolm Lui: I mean it's a come a huge amount of fish you know 400 pounds

Jimmy Liang: Oh

Malcolm Lui: I have trouble

Jimmy Liang: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Eating twelve ounces sometimes. So

Jimmy Liang: Oh yeah but I mean. But I mean then then then that's what it is a lot of our customers. They they come and they they don't eat one spicy tuna roll

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Jimmy Liang: They like three or four of them.

Malcolm Lui: Yep.

Jimmy Liang: You know what I think.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah I did that.

Jimmy Liang: Oh yeah. Exactly. So if you have enough of those customers it's gonna it's going to you know run up the poundage of fish that we sell every day.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. That's good fish.

Jimmy Liang: Oh yeah. And then like through social media sometimes like you know again if I have a nice piece of tuna that comes in I'll take a picture send it to my media my marketing people or social media people. And then they start posting it and then they start engagement online with customers that are you know reaching out to them say oh wow did this just come in today. The gym just cut it like. Which store is he at tonight. And like they'll disclose all sorts of information. And and then and then people will come in

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Jimmy Liang: For you know for certain things.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Jimmy Liang: Oh yeah.

Malcolm Lui: You have a nice piece of sashimi grade tuna out there.

Jimmy Liang: And

Malcolm Lui: Show

Jimmy Liang: Her

Malcolm Lui: A picture. Yeah that might get me to come in and go for it.

Jimmy Liang: Oh yeah. So

Malcolm Lui: For

Jimmy Liang: We

Malcolm Lui: The people if. Go ahead.

Jimmy Liang: Know

Malcolm Lui: Sorry.

Jimmy Liang: That. No no no. No good.

Malcolm Lui: So for the people who who are now hungry for for sushi and other meats that you serve. You know what's the best way for them to find out of the different off a different restaurant ideas. The restaurant means that you have in the locations

Jimmy Liang: Just go to my Web site JP for your group. Dot com. It lists all my properties. It did. And then from there it has links to each different Web site. And on the Web site of course we have our menus. You know that's the best way to go about it. But even if that's that's something that they you know that will satisfy them all they need to do. Again it's just type in J.B. food you grew up online. A lot of things will come up interviews that I've done and people see exactly what we do. Like I said I'm very open and honest about everything that we do. So I mean for example you know there was a piece of fish called Escalade. And I've had a problem with that fish for a long time. Why. Because Escalade is everybody serves it as white tuna. But there's no such thing as white tuna. It just so happens that this fish has the texture of what fatty tuna is but it's

Malcolm Lui: Wow

Jimmy Liang: Not tuna. And

Malcolm Lui: You

Jimmy Liang: Then

Malcolm Lui: Just

Jimmy Liang: Then that's. And then that fish naturally contains a lot of wax Esters and its bodies. So that's why it tastes fatty but it's not fat. You're tasting It's wax that you're tasting. And because when we say white tuna now becomes exotic. People want to try it when they first came out when the fish first came on the market it was after it was being sold at 350 a pound. Today it's being sold at about 10 dollars a pound

Malcolm Lui: Wow.

Jimmy Liang: And it's a cheap fish but a lot of people don't understand this. They don't know this. And so at one point I actually worked with a local state rep his name is Bruce Ayres to put together a bill on the wall the big hope is to ban Escalade from being sold in sushi restaurants. The small hope is to at least make sushi restaurants label the fish correctly and educate the public on it. My my my restaurants do not serve Escalade because it's not a good fish for people to consume. The more you consume it over time it's gonna give you a call. It's gonna give you something called I don't even know if I could say on a radio show but it has something to do with gastrointestinal issues.

Malcolm Lui: Really. Wow

Jimmy Liang: Yeah and you'll have a lot of it.

Malcolm Lui: Wow.

Jimmy Liang: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: And it's

Jimmy Liang: So

Malcolm Lui: Marketed as white tuna

Jimmy Liang: It's immaculate. Yeah you're right. It's marketed as white tuna

Malcolm Lui: But has

Jimmy Liang: But

Malcolm Lui: Nothing

Jimmy Liang: The fish

Malcolm Lui: To do with tuna.

Jimmy Liang: Is zero. It's not even the species of the genus some of the tuna family not even close

Malcolm Lui: That's just wrong.

Jimmy Liang: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. But you know it's just like then you know it preys on on on. On uneducated owners. It preys on uneducated chefs but it's the fishing industry. And we're always looking for new proteins to sell new forms of food. And I understand that but unfortunately Escalade is not the right fit.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah that's actually been a recurring not recurring but sometimes I always read about studies of investigative journalism where they go to sushi restaurants and or dive kinds of sushi they do tests to see if that really is what you buy and it's not just for white tuna. I mean apparently other kinds of fish gets sold under different names and

Jimmy Liang: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I mean it's you know it's that's what happens it's a lot of a lot of you know what the market dictates. It's again it's in the marketing it's it's what products that they want to push and we're kind of we're basically the end users. So a lot of us don't know any better unless you have this. Hankering desire to find out everything that's going on and that you know like for me I I need to know exactly what I'm serving. I know exactly why my fish comes in every day.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Jimmy Liang: And I know what you know what distribute which like let's say you know let's say if it's a fish farm that I'm working with or I need to know which what kind of feed they're giving the fish at that fish farm is that fish farm even set up adequately. Is it overcrowded. You know all sorts of different things goes into it. And if I ask a distributor distributor about information about those farms and if they can't provide it to me well then I'm just not going to use your your company is that simple to me. People need to understand where the stuff comes from and be more vigilant about. The knowledge of of of of the products that they're using. You know especially in this day and age everybody's best friend is Google and they can find find out things from the best friend they love. I mean there's just no hiding behind anything there's no mystery behind any type of things like trades no trade secrets anymore. I mean you know you just got to do the right thing by the public anyways. And I'm just glad that my my business we've. Adopted that mindset very early on being open and transparent my customers and not just my customers they're my partners because. And a lot of my my my customers they actually my bosses. So I don't take care of them well I'm not going to get a paycheck and in the long run. And so it's it's really just having an open dialogue with your customers with your distributors with your vendors just trying to run an honest business. And I think that's that's the best way to go.

Malcolm Lui: Thanks for joining us today Jimmy in sharing how you accelerated your company's high value sales

Jimmy Liang: Thank you Malcolm. Thank you for having me.

Malcolm Lui: We've been speaking with Jimmy Liang, the Founder, CEO & Chef of JP Fuji Group, about his company's rapid growth. For interviews with other fast growing, high value sales companies, or to learn how we can accelerate your firm's high value sales through automation, visit Eversprint.com.

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