Eatery is Really Small Business

After the National Holiday, I started to take bus to work, so I got the opportunity to walk along the Tianping Road (天平路), and pass many breakfast eatery shops. That is good since it solved my breakfast problem.

The interesting thing is, they does business in an exteremely cost sensitive way.

For example, I buy the pan egg cake 鸡蛋饼. They will cut like 1/8 of the whole cake as you asked them to do. Then they will weigh it on a weigh, and tell you: total price is 0.9 RMB.

Sometimes I just take the cake and said: keep the change. Interestingly, most of them will insist to either give the 10 cents to you, or insist to cut a very small piece of egg cake, and put it into your plastic bag.

For people like me who pays attention to capital market, and bigger P&L than them, I just didn’t get sensitive enough for the 10 cents – it does not matter, but I realized the breakfast eatery business IS that small business that the small amount of money matters, and they built their reputation of being reasonable and do not cheat by the small piece of cakes, or the 10 cents.

Different mind set, and I have all my due respect for them.

10 Comments

  1. Yeah, small busineses are different from big ones. Small ones always offer low price and get srazor-thin profits to survive at first, and I think only in this way they are likely to make the successful transformation to big businesses in the following step. The increased sales volume caused by the low price just counterbalances their loss in low price. So they just want to be well spoken by every one of their customers and make all of them the long-term or permanent customers. haha ,just my two cents.

  2. business ethic and thinking process are the same between small and any other size business, only the scale is different here. small business will make sure you get your money worthy product ( in this case, 10 cents worth of food), and big business will make sure the same.

  3. Speaking of eateries, Jim and I had lunch out at Buck’s today, Jian Shuo, on our way back from San Francisco, and I thought of you :-) It really is an interesting place, full of Silicon Valley history.

  4. 10 cents is 11.11% of 90 cents. 11.11% is huge. :D

  5. @Carroll, yes, the Buck’s is very special, although I got starving the last time. There are many interesting things in it. Yifan started to walk around in the room one months ago. Really cute….

  6. Reminds me the Sheng Jian Bao at Shanghai. Good thing is I am going back to visit Shanghai in a month or so. Bad thing is in the US there are not many choices for breakfast: I guess I am Americanized now that I eat bagel almost every morning :-)

  7. Walking??!!!!!!! Life as you know it has just changed forever — in a very good way. Go, Yifan, go! :-)

  8. Mmmm.. cake. :) Cake is always good, any time of the day. :) Sweet cake, savoury cake, spicy cake.. all sorts of cake for all the moments in one’s life! :)

  9. This post made me smile! I saw a sign somewhere last week which (my friend told me) said “Cheating the customer is cheating yourself”.

  10. Marcio Paoliello

    March 23, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Hi friend,

    I have had read all information that you have written down here and I would really like to thank you a lot because they are so important for inspiring me go to Shanghai.

    I am from Brazil and I am really interested in Shanghai way of life because I want to start up a coffee distribution business in Shanghai.

    I know that in China people like the most tea than coffee but I believe that everything is change so fast in china including beverage uses.

    So, I really want to go to Shanghai but unfortunetely I have to go to Vancouver before but I would like to keep your contact with me, if possible, because I would like to rent one apartment in Shanguai for 1 month for checking coffee marketplace.

    So, I would be so happy if you could help me to obtain information on how to start up a business in Shanghai.

    Thank you so much!!!!!

    Have a great day in Shanghi.

    Marcio Paoliello

    Campinas Brazil

    00-55 (national code)-19 (provincial code)- 81977190.

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