Jonathan Bui

Jonathan Bui

F&B entrepreneur

Tell us about yourself.
My family is from Chiu Chow, but I was born in Toronto and grew up in Hong Kong. When I moved back to Toronto, I studied kinesiology and health science at York University and was on my way to become a physiotherapist.

What’s one thing not a lot of people know about you?
My goofiness.

Did you always want to be in F&B?
No, although I had planned a career physiotherapy, my first understanding of food and beverage developed from an early age watching my grandfather and parents manage their business — Pak Loh Chiu Chow Restaurant. At university, I worked part-time for pocket money at a catering company and I really enjoyed the good feedback I received for friendly service. It was all quite theatrical and it was great making customers feel positive about their experience.

What was your first big break?
Mrs Pound. My partners and I decided to create something unique, quirky and fun. We had planned it for more than a year; testing combinations of flavours and finally curated a food and drinks menu that we thought everyone would enjoy. We were all about the love stories, the bold flavours and the culinary journey the shop would take our customers on.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
Covid-19. However, we’ll overcome it with a positive attitude, perseverance and strategic planning.

Whom do you look up to and why?
My parents taught me how to create a good balance of work and life. Their extensive experience in managing and expanding has led me to have a broader perspective of how to endure and to be patient.

What’s the key to success in your work?
Staying focused and having a positive attitude. There are always hidden opportunities that may not appear at the time and it’s OK to reach out to people to get a different perspective.

What are you most proud of?
Being the third generation to expand our family business. I hope that one day Chiu Chow cuisine can be recognised internationally and that more people can get to know our culture.

What piece of advice would you offer hopeful restaurateurs out there?
Delegate work to the right people and have trust in your team!

How has it been for you during in the last months?
It’s important to have strong communication with your teams, as what we’re facing is a global pandemic, so we must stick together.

What can we look forward to from you in the next 12 months?
We’ll be right back on our feet and ready for more adventures!