Sushi Zanmai is a popular sushi restaurant in Boulder, Colorado and has been around for 28 years. By winning the Best of Boulder in both the Japanese and Sushi category, it has proven to be apart of the elite sushi restaurants in Boulder. One may wonder what has attributed to their success and why so many customers keep on returning. In order to find this out I had an interview with Younghye Kim, the resilient manager at Sushi Zanmai.
Younghye Kim has worked at Sushi Zanmai for quite sometime now. She started working as a busser, worked her way up to a server, and for the past several years has been hard at work as the manager. Her eccentric and upbeat character makes her a fun and caring manager, but when it comes down to business, she does not joke around.
I asked Younghye why Sushi Zanmai has been so successful in such a competitive area and her reply was, “because the consistency of good service”. At Sushi Zanmai, the employees welcome each customer with a warm welcoming by screaming irrashai, which is the Japanese word for welcome. Another factor to Zanmai’s success is the ability to recognize returning customers and connecting to them on a personal basis in order to make them feel like a valued customer. In addition to these factors, Younghye’s organized managing skills and treating employees with respect are big factors in running such a successful business. Younghye views her employees as a family and treats them as such. Employees enjoy a free meal after work everyday and during that time, they socialize about their personal lives. Zanmai employees also hangout outside of work by attending work parties and gathering to eat food such as Korean barbeque or dim sum on a regular basis.
Additionally, I asked Younghye why customers should choose to dine at Sushi Zanmai over the other numerous sushi restaurants in Boulder. She answered, “Sushi Zanmai has a very upbeat, loud, and fun atmosphere that you don’t expect from most Japanese restaurants”. This atmosphere is exemplified every Saturday night at 10, where Sushi Zanmai hosts a karaoke night that attracts many customers and karaoke regulars for a crazy and fun night. In addition to the atmosphere, Zanmai can provide fresh fish because they go through their fish quickly and provide not only traditional Japanese food but also Americanized Japanese food. History tells why Sushi Zanmai has been so successful because they have been around for 28 years, and it does not seem like they will be leaving anytime soon.
For further information on Sushi Zanmai visit their official website here.
For further information on the Best of Boulder make sure to pick up their next issue or visit their facebook website here.
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Customer service proves to be one of the most important keys to the success of the food industry. A lack of customer service makes the customer feel unwelcomed and disengaged from the restaurant. There is a common saying in the restaurant industry that states people will come for the food, but will come back again for the service. The atmosphere of a restaurant is an important factor to the success of the business and poor customer service results in an atmosphere that drives away potential customers that would come in on a regular basis.
Having serving experience in the restaurant industry allows me to have an insight of what brings back customers on a regular basis and how my hospitality towards the customer attributes to it. Serving at Sushi Zanmai, a restaurant that recently won the best of Boulder award, allowed me to serve customers who I catered to on a regular basis. What I found to be true is that providing a warm welcoming and simply remembering the name of the customer will offer incentive to come back again. Another factor in providing great customer service is remembering what a customer orders regularly because it shows that you remember them and they are a valued customer.
A prime example of a business that shutdown due to a lack of customer service is Jimmy and Drew’s, a Jewish deli in Boulder, Colorado. Jimmy and Drew’s has recently gone out of business and been replaced by Thai Kitchen. This Jewish deli was the only one of it’s kind in Boulder and was a thriving business only a few years ago, but has gone downhill since. At one point, reputable magazines such as Esquire magazine and The New York Times praised Jimmy and Drew’s. One might wonder what has changed since then, and surprisingly enough it is due to the customer service of the business. Douglas Brown, writer at The Denver Post, wrote that the last time he went to Jimmy and Drew’s there was terrible service from college students who refused to acknowledge him and were not even able to make everything on the menu. It comes to no surprise that shortly after Jimmy and Drew’s closed down. This goes to show the real impact that customer service has on a business.
To read more on Douglas Brown’s article on Jimmy and Drew’s go here.
To read more on why restaurant owners and chefs think customer service is important go here.
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Food trucks in America have gained a large following and popularity throughout the country. Because of this trend, it seems that the city of Boulder is conforming by allowing food trucks more room to roam the city. This will allow those who wish to sell their food a more cost efficient and less risky way to do so. In addition, it will provide citizens of Boulder closer locations for food and beverages and more business opportunities within the food industry. This new addition of food trucks in Boulder will assist in the growth of the food industry throughout the city.
The city of Boulder plans to implement these food trucks within Boulder city parks and for late-night business in downtown Boulder for intoxicated college students. These food trucks will be allowed within the Tom Watson Park, Foothills Community Park, North Boulder Park, Harlow Platts Community Park, East Boulder Community Park, and the city’s downtown Municipal Campus during the summer. Number of allowed food trucks and hours will differ between each park. If the Boulder City Council approves the summer pilot program, the food trucks will be able to operate in downtown Boulder this summer.
Numerous downtown Boulder restaurants are concerned about the possible increased competition from these food trucks. At this point, city officials have restricted food trucks from operating within 150 feet of restaurants and residential districts. These restrictions have drawn complaints from food truck owners because they hinder their sales, but restaurant owners are more concerned with their own businesses. Downtown Boulder restaurants pay expensive rent and are in possibly one of the most competitive food areas in the country. All this in mind, the city officials are working on a solution to cater to the needs of both restaurants and food trucks along with what is best for the city’s economy. It seems that the future is bright for the business of food trucks within the city of Boulder.
For further information on food trucks within Boulder go here.
For further information on the mobile food vehicle pilot program for parks go here.
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Local businesses across America all face issues of competing against chain businesses, and Boulder is no exception to this. Although Boulder, Colorado is known for having thriving local businesses, there is still fierce competition. In order to provide these local businesses a fighting chance, the Boulder Independent Business Alliance was formed in 1998. The Boulder Independent Business Alliance, also known as BIBA, consists of numerous locally owned businesses that are concerned with defending their home-grown economy from chain businesses. A staggering amount of locally owned businesses have gone out of business since 1990 and BIBA hopes to prevent this trend. BIBA promotes locally owned businesses by providing businesses with reduced advertising rates and marketing tools to those who buy a membership. Another innovation BIBA has incorporated is the community benefit card, which allows residents to not make the difficult decision between supporting local businesses and getting the best deal. These efforts have raised awareness on the issue and set a precedent for other cities who are adopting the BIBA model.
It is clear that Boulder cares a great deal about locally owned businesses. This concern has allowed local food and beverage businesses to thrive in Boulder and has drawn in many entrepreneurs. The issue of chain businesses has been addressed by BIBA and has shown to prove effective because Boulder’s reputation is often compared to Silicon Valley in recent times. It is reassuring that the local people of Boulder care enough to give support to their local businesses. These efforts exemplify the people of Boulder and how their efforts make a difference in the community.
Additional information on BIBA can be found here.