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Alumnus Anthony Kranepuhl describes his restaurant venture, an oasis of calm and epicurean delight in the country’s capital, Bangkok.
Well, after 2 months of being open in Bangkok, I can say that Mélangé Restaurant has come a long way.
It was quite a feat taking over a 5-bedroom house, pool and garden in a residential area of Bangkok to create a bar, storage rooms, stewarding area, parking lots and a professional kitchen in the limited space of a traditional home.
However, after plenty of effort, planning, redesigning, and adding so many small details, we finally have a restaurant that has a warm feel for families, and that offers tasty home-made dishes for all ages and palates.
Kids can have fun on a play set with a swing and slide. They can jump in and out of the pool – there is plenty of space to feel at ease and comfortable after a stressful day at work.
Dishes take inspiration from French Polynesia, Italy, France, Germany and Thailand; Mélangé Restaurant also now serves breakfast, as well as desserts, coffee, wine and home-made cocktails.
But all of these great drinks and dishes haven’t arrived without a long thought process: the purchase of the ingredients, the way we cook our dishes, the way we plate them and the way they taste – everything has been analyzed several times in minute detail.
The great thing about opening a restaurant is that the work never stops, even outside usual service hours. There is always something to perfect, something to add or remove, something to think of in order to be able to take a step back and stand in the customer’s shoes.
And the most important part of the job is being in touch with our customers. Understanding their needs, getting to know them and their likes and preferences, it’s all about the relationship you build with them, and that’s what makes them come back.
You can always move your food from one location to another, from one style of restaurant to another. But why do the customers come back? The most important reason: the relationship that they have with the establishment. If they can be recognized, feel valued, and be able to feel that they are part of our efforts, then they get a warm feeling of appreciation, and this helps them make a decision to return to the restaurant in the future.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to people skills. Whether it’s with the customer or the supplier, it’s all about a relationship in some form or other.
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