On the Line: Owner Daniel Woo and Chef Greg Ong of Sushilicious, Part Two
Chef Greg Ong
Tomorrow, the guys share a recipe!
Proudest moment as a restaurant owner:
The day we first opened. It was 3 long years from concept to opening.
Tell us the story behind why you decided to name your place Sushilicious.
My family and I realized that there wasn't a fast casual, kid friendly, family friendly, and affordable sushi restaurant in Irvine. So we set out to build one. I asked my then 5 year old daughter to help create a name and she came up with "sushi delicious". We took "sushi delicious" and combined the two words to create "sushilicious".
You also had a lot of fun naming different dishes with fanciful titles such as "Sushicalifragilisticexpialidocious" and others. What made you decide to do that?
We wanted to engage customers in conversation by meshing pop culture names into sushi roll names.
What's your favorite name for a dish?
Care to tell us what names didn't make the cut and why?
We still have some names in the pipeline that we haven't released yet. As we create new dishes these names will be applied accordingly.
Tell us a few things about operating a revolving sushi bar that most people don't know about.
There are over 5000 "kaiten" sushi restaurants currently operating in Japan.
What's the most difficult thing about running your restaurant?
Although we enjoy what we do, the long hours of operating a restaurant is always difficult.
What were you doing before you opened Sushilicious? That is, what's your background?
I have owned and operated multiple business ventures prior to Sushilicious.
You're one of the few restaurants we know of that seem to be using Facebook to good effect and, most importantly, your Facebook page is constantly being updated. Is this a conscious decision?
We use social media to share, laugh, and interact "with" our customers. We try to make our updates fun and whimsical.
Tell us the story behind the iPod touches you guys use to take orders.
We wanted a quick and efficient way to process orders. The iPod Touch helps speed up the ordering process without physically having to walk over to a POS terminal to input orders.
What have you learned about the business that you wish you knew when you started?
Knowing our core demographics and knowing how to market to them.
What kind food or dish do you and your family eat at home more than any other?
When we're not eating sushi, I really enjoy eating all different types of asian inspired noodles. Current noodle crush...Mabo Ramen
What dish would you tell newcomers to try first?
I always encourage customers to take it slow. Start with an avocado maki and then work your way up to nigri. Newcomers to sushi who try raw fish as their first experience usually regret trying sushi. We really encourage our customers to take it slow.
What would you be doing if you weren't in this business?
Helping merchants market/connect with consumers.
What advice do you have for those that might be thinking about starting a career in food or opening a restaurant?
Start a marketing campaign 3 months prior to opening and build up a following.
What do you see yourself doing in 5 years? 10 years?
Continuing to expand Sushilicious throughout California.
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