Promotion Enhances Traditional Cha Chaan Tengs' Competitiveness
written by Violet Chui, Francesca Wong, Mavis Yao, Toby Wong
No one will deny that cha chaan teng is one of the cultural heritages in Hong Kong. These types of Hong Kong-styled restaurants are facing a keen competition among different kinds of restaurants. It is not a rare scene that old-styled restaurants are closed one by one just because they are not able to afford the high rent. Then, what is the underlying reason making them unable to continue their business of cha chaan teng? Competitiveness must be the main factor determining whether cha chaan teng have a place to stand in Hong Kong. The key to help the survival of a restaurant is to enhance the competitiveness within a short period of time. In the following, we will have a deep investigation of why promotion makes cha chaan teng reborn.
In fact, traditional cha chaan tengs are losing their competitiveness due to several reasons. First, it is about the secluded location of the cha chaan tengs. Most of the traditional cha chaan tengs are located in the old district where is far away from the city center. Most of the Hong Kong people are working or living within the central district while only elders left in the old district. Therefore, those traditional cha chaan tengs can hardly increase the number of customers because of the limited people left in the surrounding area. The location of the traditional cha chaan tengs leads to a narrow customer source. It can directly affect the business as it may probably decrease the income. Despite of the above problems, there are also internal problems within the restaurant. The generally low educational level of the staff who work in the traditional cha chaan tengs affects the attractiveness of the restaurant. The lack of knowledge towards quality service may lose customers as customers always look for good service. The above problems definitely decrease the competitiveness of the traditional cha chaan tengs.
To cope with these problems, several solutions are suggested. Since secluded location of the cha chaan teng causes inconvenience to the customers, relocation can be practiced to increase the popularity of them. However, due to the long history of the cha chaan teng and the frequent customers from neighbourhood, they would not intend to move out from where they got started. Besides, orientation towards serving customers can be held by the traditional cha chaan tengs in order to improve the quality of service. Nevertheless, most of the staff is old and they are accustomed to the old way of serving the customers. Also, the features of the cha chaan tengs’ culture would be lost if the staff change what they are used to be. Consequently, this solution is not feasible for the traditional cha chaan teng. To enhance the competitiveness of the cha chaan teng, promotion is the most practical measure for cha chaan teng to survive in the competitive catering business. What the cha chaan teng do to widen the customer flow is to introduce their restaurant through different channels. So, a proper promotion is helpful for attracting more people to recognize your restaurant, thus reputation can be built and the value of existence would be higher.
Promotion can be regarded as a great help to establish a positive and new image of cha chaan teng. What immediately flush into your mind when we talk about cha chaan teng? Some may think of the dirty environment, while others may relate cha chaan teng to an out-dated trend. How can we replace the word ‘Dirty’ with ‘Clean’, and also use ‘modern’ to substitute the word ‘out-dated’? Definitely, promotion helps. Increasing the turnover is always the final goal of most of the restaurants. It is a must for a company to build up a positive image in order to attract a larger variety of customers. Just take a look to a Café de coral’s promotion strategy, ‘’Achieving a Hundred Points of Excellence’’ have been used as the slogan of Café de coral for over ten years. Café de coral is quite successful in terms of building up a healthy image. Café de coral’s target customers are diverse, from male to female, or from children to the elderly. What Café de coral put great emphasis is that the staff serve the customers whole-heartedly and give the customers warm hospitality. This is no longer a secret in the catering market, but we seldom see the large scale promotion such as the Café de coral one in cha chaan teng. Someone may argue that it’s hard to change people’s deep-rooted mind towards cha chaan teng. Certainly, only by vivid posters, impressive slogans or appealing logos are not enough to promote cha chaan teng. However, this kind of promotion can exert a bombarding effect that stimulating people’s visual ad hearing sense. It is the first step and also an important step to get the attentions of your target customers before selling your products.
Besides, promotion also helps create an indirect chance for them to renovate their business with the help of other big company. Promotion is always useful to recreate a brand image for a business. It can help establish a new perspective for the way people look at the traditional cha chaan tengs. Image definitely affects the customers’ first step into the restaurant. If the image of the restaurant is bad, people may not walk into it no matter how tasty the food is. Therefore, building up a good image can help attracting more people to come to the restaurant. As customer is always important for a business, a reliable customer source can help develop a more stable business. In Hong Kong, there is lots of food and beverage companies specialize in helping small restaurant to expand their business. They search for those restaurants, which have potential to develop a bigger business. If the restaurant has a steady business, those big companies may try to deal with them for buying their restaurants and use other business strategies to help expending the business.
Nevertheless, people may think that traditional cha chaan teng cannot afford advertisements and promotions. They probably have a wrong point of view. Traditional cha chaan teng can produce successful advertisements and promotions when the proprietors smartly operate, arrange and make good use of their working capitals. The money that can be used for promotions is very limited because they are running businesses with only small capitals. There is no doubt that the traditional cha chaan teng only makes money on small trades. In addition, the customers are all elderly and neighbours, hence the revenue gained can merely overcome the expenditure. Therefore, there is only little extra money that can be spent on promotions. According to research, an advertisement on TV, which only lasts for ten seconds, costs a hundred thousand. How can a traditional cha chaan teng bear such a high cost? If a cha chaan teng spend money on promotions and advertisements, the cost and expenditure will be much burdened, and the restaurant will hardly survive. Thus large scaled blurb is absolutely not suitable for them. What a traditional cha chaan teng needs are economic advertisements in small scale, which cost little, for instance, to invite renowned food critic to write words for the food on magazines and newspaper and to make promotions on the Internet. Even though that are so-called small-scaled advertisements, it is definitely true that money is needed. Yet capitals can be raised for the fees, seek help from banks and loans can be made for example. Karkar (2009) points out that short term debt helps raise cash for all needs and working capital, and “loan is a promise to pay a debt” which is essential for small businesses (p.218). That is what businessmen usually do, to tactful raise and use money. Sometimes business has to take risks to pursue success. No pain, no gain. Traditional cha chaan teng can run a better business by making effort on advertisements and promotions, by investing more money and time.
Furthermore, most of the people may think that it is unworthy for the cha chaan tengs owners to promote within a short run. The owners are not willing to spend time and money on the promotion, as life span of operating the cha chaan teng is short. Besides, most of the owners are old so they think that it is less likely to sustain the business in long term. Consequently, they may not adopt the promotion by means of remedy for the cha chaan tengs. Those old cha chaan tengs owners may probably think that promotion is not a feasible and efficient solution to help their restaurants enhance competitiveness. However, the owners may underestimate the benefits brought by promotion. Since an appropriate promotion can gain popularity and thus earn a good reputation, the value then will rise. With a good appreciation, more people will get interested in continuing the business when the owners tend to retire or transfer the ownership. Morrison (1985) states that there is a tendency to buy back units and move toward company-owned operations as a franchise system matures which is held by the capital-resource theory. (P.85) Obviously, the bargaining power will be higher and so the owners can gain more money as what they have invested before returns a profit. He also finds that ‘This perspective focuses on growth as a means of development of brand-name capital and economies of scale in promotion.’(P.85) Hence, the cha chaan tengs owners can benefit from doing the promotion in long run as a solution to get rid of the plight of low competitiveness.
Traditional cha chaan teng is in a tense competition, with the narrow range of types of customers, secluded location and lack of business planning, they are losing their charm and competitiveness among various types of restaurants. The most effective and efficient solution for the problem is to promote, which is also the most direct way to enhance their business and the survivability in the market. By effective promotions, new image will be built, reputation will be gained and people will start to concern about the value of traditional cha chaan teng. They will eventually reborn and regain attractiveness. Although they face problems now, they can survive with good plan on business and cleverly make use of capital to promote.
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Karkar, A. (2009). Financing the Business. Small Business Management: Concepts & Techniques for Improving Decisions (pp.218). Global India Publications Pvt Ltd.
With Insufficient Business Planning, Traditional Cha Chaan Teng Loses Its Charm and Competitivenes
Written by Yao Cheuk Ying Mavis
Cha chaan teng is a traditional Hong Kong-styled restaurant which has a
long history. Traditional cha chaan teng can be said to be ideal places for
both the locals and foreigners to experience the old Hong Kong. It is because
nearly nothing there has been changed since it opened, from location to menu.
Over years, apart from affordable menus and unique Hong Kong-styled food, the
friendliness of people always attracted customers. However, now the old cha
chaan teng seems to lose its
charm and competitiveness because there are increasing number of new-formed
restaurants, cafes and other eateries in Hong Kong. Even though the close
relationship among people still exists, it is hard for a traditional cha
chaan teng to survive under
the strong competition and high cost of operating a restaurant. One of the
problems is the insufficiency of business planning. The followings are some of
the reasons behind.
First of all,
the old cha chaan teng only
offers one menu in all seasons and the foods provided are similar to other
restaurants. It is no doubt that delicious Hong Kong-styled foods are
attractive to all kinds of people. Nevertheless, those foods are not only sold
at traditional cha chaan teng. Egg tart, toast, milk
tea, etc., they are all common food which can easily be found on streets. Thus
people can buy the food conveniently at nearby food stores, cafes or
restaurants. The more restaurant opens, the less scarcer the food is. Therefore,
the value of the food has decreased when it is compared to the fifties, when cha chaan teng was first found. Nowadays, people do
not travel far for something not valuable.
food is offered in all seasons as the menu is barely to be changed at
traditional cha chaan teng. People find the menu bored and dull when they
compare it with the dishes provided in other restaurants. Due to the
improvement of people’s quality of lives, they can afford to try various kinds
of cuisines. Because they has built a rich sense and appetite of having
different kinds of meal, food in cha chaan teng is no longer their only favorite.
Hence, cha chaan teng does
not dominate the market any more. People has learned to enjoy higher-class
food. That’s why Japanese, Korean or Thai food are always the prior choices for
people eating out. According to a report on food in Hong Kong, the high incomes
ensure the consumer susceptibility to premium and innovative food and beverage
items in the coming years(Business Monitor International, 2009). Apparently,
traditional cha chaan teng which
only provides monotonous menu is losing its competitiveness in the market.
traditional cha chaan teng do not
provide proper training to the staff. The atmosphere is too casual for working
and the staff has lost the intension of running a business. On account of
narrow range of target customers, the old cha chaan teng only serves the neighbours living
nearby. Most of the customers are consequently frequenter of the restaurant. Therefore,
they do not tend to attract new customers. For successful restaurant, there are
good division of labour for serving different people. Like Tsui
WahRestaurant, which has broad range of customers, has trained staff to be
Putonghua Ambassador and serve customers who speak Putonghua. Many visitors
like to go there due to the intimate serving system. Without such a system,
traditional cha chaan teng does
not have good target and strategy to attract customers. It is because people in
there are lack of foresight to enlarge the business.
Based on the
same reason, the staff are too friendly and casual that they usually allow
customers to stay for hours. Even when customers only consume little, they can
stay until they want to leave. As long as the old customers spend much time but
consume little, the restaurant is not economic and it can hardly gain. When the
seats are filled with people, there are only little spare seats for others.
Consequently, the traditional cha chaan teng can hardly attract new visitors and
balance the income and expenditure while running a restaurant costs much.
the old cha chaan teng’s appearance is not adorned to be eye-catching.
Oppositely, the decoration and display are old-fashioned and dull which can
scarcely attract customers. It is because the traditional restaurant retained
all the display which had already been there in the fifties. That’s why all the
display windows are brown in colour, the fans are old, the patterns on walls
are outmoded and so as the seats and tables. Whereas those are giving bad image
of old and dirty to most of the people, they do not enter and spend in the
restaurant. When there are so many alternatives and choices of restaurant
nowadays, people would rather choose a restaurant which looks clean, hygienic
and up-to-date. In a survey result mentioned in a Hong Kong food market
analysis report (China Contact, 2001), there are many people concern about
restaurant hygiene and some of them think that Hong Kong restaurants are dirty.
According to the increasing concern of hygiene, yellowish and old display
cannot attract customers.
Last but not
least, traditional cha chaan teng lacks promotions and advertisements.
The value of it is diminishing in people’s mind, so they will not find one
intensely. Because restaurants are everywhere in Hong Kong, people have no need
to find a specific cha chaan teng to have meals. While renowned fast
food shops are everywhere and produce advertisements for regular promotions,
traditional cha chaan tengonly lives quietly in an old and dull corner. Somehow
it is barely to be noticed. It does not have banners, TV commercials or any
other advertisements. Daisann (2008) suggests readers to visit Tsui
Wah which has a giant,
super-sized neon tablet. Even people in foreign countries know the name, that
is the result carried by efficient advertising. Unlike Tsui
Wah, the renowned local modern tea restaurant, traditional cha
chaan teng does not have any
website or any channels to promote themselves. The only way people know them is
by transferring the message in person by mouth.
The lack of
foresight and pioneering spirit lead to the diminish of business in traditional cha
chaan teng. With little advertisements, the consistent style of treating
customers and monotonous menus, the old and traditional restaurant seems to
have only little competitiveness in the market. As a result, they are losing
their attractiveness to most of the people. Will all the traditional cha
chaan teng disappear in Hong
Kong eventually? It really depends on whether people find out the true value of
the traditional cha chaan teng. In fact, I believe that the friendliness of
people will once again attract customers when the public figure out that the
value of a restaurant is not calculated by how much it spends on promotions or
decorating its appearance.
Monitor International. (2009) Part of BMI’s Industry Survey & Forecasts
Series. Hong Kong Food & Drink Report 2009, 11.
(2001) Restaurant Hygiene Legislation Changes. Catering & Fast-Food in Hong
Kong: A Market Analysis, 34.
(2008, Jan30). Eating in Hong Kong: the Cha Chaan Teng. The New York Times.
Cha Chaan Teng seems lost attractiveness to nowadays youngsters
Written by Wong Wing Man Toby
It is hard to attract youngsters to visit Cha Chaan Teng. After visiting China restaurant for several times, we found out that the majority customers are the elderly. There must be some reasons behind the scene that make youngsters not getting any interest in Cha Chaan Teng. Unable to attract more teenagers may limit the customers’ diversity, which greatly hinder the Cha Chaan Teng’s business. In order to maintain the survival of Cha Chaan Teng in Hong Kong, it is high time to increase the competitiveness of such type of Hong Kong-styled restaurant. Let’s take a brief investigation of why Cha Chaan Teng seems not to be attractive to nowadays youngters.
Cha Chaan Teng can be regarded as a kind of collective memories. It seems not far from the truth that a lot of cultural heritage cannot be well-preserved. In such a international city like Hong Kong, people put much more emphasis on economic development rather than cultural protection. We can see the Star ferry pier being demolished, Wing Lee Street being removed and King Yin Lane being pulled down. What the elderly can find in Cha Chaan Teng are the memories in the good old days. The Hong Kong-styled food is more suitable for the elderly as they used to eat the meal in previous time. When the elderly visit to Cha Chaan Teng, thousands of memories flush into their mind immediately, no matter good or bad.
Relationship among people is loosely bounded. You may not know about the name of your neighbour. You may even don’t know about who your neighbour is. In nowadays Hong Kong, where can you find the warmth of people? Definitely Cha Chaan Teng will be the answer. It is known that the elderly attach great importance in relationship among people. According to the research conducted by Karen Fingerman from Purdue University, the aged people will pay extra attention of how to keep a relationship because they have more life experience than the adolescents. Most of the elderly have experienced the trough and peaks in their life, truly understanding the coldness of the society. Therefore, the old people, instead of the young one, are usually the one to take initiative to keep and relationship with others. In Cha Chaan Teng, customers chat with the staff, talking about some trivial things or daily stuff. More than that, it is not necessary for you to order your food, as the staff already realizes what your favourable meal is. You can even take the utensil by yourself as if you were at your home.
Youngsters love trying something modern and innovative. Cha Chaan Teng symbolizes a traditional old culture while fast food shops typify a trendy and modern culture from the West. In Cha Chaan Teng, Using most of the time to appreciate the environment, the decoration and the taste of food, customers visiting Cha Chaan Teng enjoy their meal slowly. In fast food shop like McDonald and KFC, people just eat their food in a rush. Some may even merely buy take-away food in order to save time. Most of the people visiting fast food shop just want to get full, regardless of the nutrition value and the taste of food. Living in a competitive city such as Hong Kong, some people need to work day and night for the sake of maintaining a bare living. It is difficult for them to take a rest, let alone squeeze time out to enjoy their life.
Youngsters pursue brand-named restaurant rather than the unknown one. Some of them may think that those renowned restaurants are of more guarantees. It is generally believed that the hygiene of some old-styled restaurants is bad. People especially nowadays youngsters may rather choose a clean place to eat their breakfast, lunch and dinner. Restaurants cooperated by enterprise such as Maxim, Café de coral and delifrance can always provide you a sense of comfort. You can receive such message by tons of advertisements on the TV or the internet. Clearly, the decoration of Cha Chaan Teng is not as fabulous as the modern restaurants. Most of the old-styled Cha Chaan Teng has a long history and the decoration of the restaurant just remains unchanged.
What’s more, the inaccessibility of Cha Chaan Teng can be one of the reasons making youngsters unwilling to go to Cha Chaan Teng. We can easily observe that modern restaurants such as McDonald are located everywhere, while the location of some Cha Chaan Teng is quite secluded. The inconvenient traffic may hinder the people from traveling to the location of Cha Chaan Teng.
After having a deep analysis, we can see there are so many reasons which make Cha Chaan Teng hard to set youngsters as their target customers. From time to time, every trend is changing. Food culture will not be an exception either. The food types in Cha Chaan Teng are not as varies as today’s trendy restaurant. It is important for Cha Chaan Teng to increase its ability to compete with other restaurant; otherwise, Cha Chaan Teng will be replaced by other restaurants due to the lack of competitiveness. It is worthwhile to mention that Cha Chaan Teng can be deemed as one of the cultural heritages in Hong Kong. Not only the owner of Cha Chaan Teng have to think about some solutions to solve the recent problems which faced by Cha Chaan Teng, the government should also shoulder the responsibility of preserving Cha Chaan Teng. (910words)
It Takes Two to Tango: Why Older People Have the Best Relationships
Karen L. Fingerman and Susan T. Charles
written by Yao Cheuk Ying Mavis
If you have developed a relationship with someone, you will find it hard to forget him or her. Cha chaan teng is just like the person who cannot be forgotten. Have you ever heard of it? It is a traditional Hong Kong-styled restaurant. Cha chaan teng has a long history so it is an ideal place to experience the old Hong Kong. Apart from affordable menus and delicious food, the charm of it over years is the friendliness of people. Human sentiment is the most precious treasure in one’s relationship and is hardly seen between humans. Therefore, it will be a memorable experience of visiting cha chaan teng in which you can feel the warmth of human relationship.
Across those busy people, booths and stores, an old cha chaan teng is opening silently at one corner of the city for tens of years. It is well-known among neighbours even without commercial advertisements. The restaurant is old-styled because everything remains the same since the start of business. The stair, tables and chairs are made in the fifties. An old tablet with Chinese words, cha chaan teng is right at the top of the restaurant’s entrance. To be more easily memorized and more familiar, names of cha chaan teng are usually the names of the owner.
The smell of butter is wandering on the street in the early morning. Chinese people are used to following traditions that they wake up early every morning to make sure tarts and bread are freshly baked. It is a norm that hot egg tarts and bread are well prepared. You can see them on the shelf through the tea-coloured display window. They are the best choices of breakfast which are cheap and tasty. There is usually crowd of people outside the restaurant to purchase the bake like bees meet honey. Students and adults buy them before school and work, and housewives like to have that too. The bake is attractive to all ages because of the smell and look. It is popular for almost everyone in Hong Kong. “I like that yellow egg tart. Mummy, please buy one for me.” A kindergarten student begs. A free-of-charged tart is given to him by the boss. “Give this to you. Remember you were just a little baby when I saw you for the first time. Study hard and be a good child.”
Inside the restaurant, there are not many people. Most of the customers are aged and retired people. They are free to spend the morning in the restaurant rather than rushing to work or school. The pace of a busy life is slower while looking at them, who is really enjoying their meal times. They are relaxed and carefree. Few of them are looking at the same direction. Follow their sight, there is a small television at the corner. The television is not noisy at all as it only produces little sound. At the opposite side, an old man is listening to the radio and tasting his cup of coffee. He is carrying a simile that seems to be satisfied. On the left, the cashier is free and chatting with a woman about things happened in daily life. The laughter flows in the air. Surrounded by the checker-patterned walls and floor which are usually found in the fifties, you can imagine how people enjoy their leisure time at the restaurant over the years.
“Welcome. Let’s sit upstair.” A friendly waiter greets with a big smile. There are many tables and booth seats in cha caan teng. Customers can choose where to sit freely. Booth seat is a good choice because it seems to give more privacy to customers. After being seated, waiter gives customers two cups of hot tea. Hong Kong people are used to washing utensils with that tea. They believe that it is more hygienic.
Flipping through the plentiful menus with different kinds of delicious food, people usually cannot make up their minds in seconds. Waiters are patient to wait for your order and sometimes they even give you advice. “Let’s have a butter and jam on toast and a cup of milk tea.” The waiter suggests friendly. “Yes, the toast and milk tea here are really good.” A customer sitting nearby replies. It is familiar to see people joining others’ conversations. The people here are all friendly, because most customers are neighbours living nearby and they visit the restaurant very often. They become friends with many of the customers and waiters. They can speak randomly and they effortlessly start to talk to others who are strangers or someone they know. People are warmhearted in Cha Chaan Teng, you will easily get involved and enjoy the conversations. It is common for customers to spend the whole day in the restaurant.
Moreover, staff in Cha Chaan Teng is considerate that they do not bother people who only order a cup of tea and sit for the whole morning. They even refill tea to those customers. It is an example of human sentiment. They recognize faces and know that people are all neighbours. They welcome everyone especially those who come often. You will see the subtle relationship between people and the restaurant after visiting once.
Besides the taste of food is left in mouth, the friendliness of people will remain in your mind after visiting to cha chaan teng. The old-styled wall, table and seats witness the growth and changes of people. The close relationship has already been built in Hong Kong people’s mind. It is undoubtedly a treasure of the city. Would you like to come, stop your pace and experience human’s warmth?