Good Sales with No Barriers! E.Hoi’s Poached Blood Cockles, from a Condo Kitchen to 6-Figure Sales

Jun 29, 2020
An interesting trend for people who want to open their own restaurant business is cooking at home without having a store front and selling via online channels or platforms, delivering savory dishes straight to customers’ homes. E.Hoi, a restaurant that sells poached blood cockles with super tasty sauce is a very clear example. Waranya “Ice” Musikchai started cooking in her condo’s kitchen, selling just one product, but earning a 6-figure income, and now she’s opened a store front. She sells offline and online to expand her customer base and boost her sales. How she came up with this idea and created this brand is very interesting.

Start with a Square Frame

It’s probably not too far off to say that E.Hoi Started with a square frame since Ice lived in a condo at the heart of Bangkok and had a lifestyle that included ordering food from applications and deliveries every day. It didn’t matter how far away the famous restaurants were, or she might not even know where their storefronts were, just as long as the food was good, she was willing to order it by just tapping on her smartphone. This sparked an idea in her.

“I come from a family that deals in trade. I grew up in a grocery store. I already knew trade means investment. I knew what I had to do. Also, I like cooking. I like to go into my kitchen and cook. One day, I was watching a TV program about blood cockles.

I saw the picture and figured I could probably create some value for the product, that I could print out a picture and attract customers. It had to look tasty. Although I don’t eat cockles myself, my friends and family do. I figured maybe 80% of people eat them and that I didn’t need to make something I actually ate, so I tried making them for other people.” As it turned out, anyone who’ve had her blood cockles would be impressed.

Create a Brand That Focuses on Making Your One Product the Best 

She’s another person who dreamed of having her own business. Although she never imagined she’d go into the blood cockle business, because she doesn’t eat fish or clams at all, once the idea started to materialize and she was determined to make a serious business out of it, E.Hoi got started in her square condo.

“E.Hoi started with my determination to make just one great product. I set a goal that the product’s outstanding quality would be the best blood cockles ever. If you’re thinking about good and tasty cockles with a reliable quality and delicious sauce, you have to try E.Hoi.”

Although she doesn’t eat blood cockles, that’s not an obstacle for her. On the contrary, it became something she had to study even more deeply to fix her own flaws. This started with looking for blood cockles.

“Once I’d decided to do it, I studied everything. I faced a lot of obstacles when I first started. I had to learn by trial and error. You can invest 3,000 baht and just open your restaurant, yes, but that’s sloppy. You can’t go on without further study. The first factor is ingredients. If you want cheap ingredients to earn the most profit, it turns out there are several varieties of blood cockles, such as Indian blood cockles or Malaysian blood cockles. I tried ordering them and the cost was different, yes, but so was the quality.

Second, the middlemen. If you’ve never met them and they send you bad products, you have no right to complain because you don’t know where they are and you can’t track them down. I kept ordering from different people. In the end, I was lucky to find an honest vendor. They saw that I was an amateur. I would tell them about any problem I had. I didn’t have a lot of experience, so I asked for their advice. I asked for straightforward information and I got all the advice I needed without any tricks. If there was any problem, I could claim it.”

As for the flavor of the blood cockles, Ice relies on comments from those around her. She’ll take their criticism and “fix it” until there’s nothing left to criticize.

“In, the beginning, I didn’t sell through food applications, but mainly though Facebook and LINE. Most of my customers where my friends. They’d give feedback without holding anything back. If they said frankly that it was bad, I’d take that criticism and try to fix it. That’s how you buy experience. When I thought all the flavors were good enough, I started selling through an application and I’d listen to the customers’ feedback. I’d tell them which farms the products I sent them were from and asked them to tell me if there were any differences or which one was better and they’d give me their opinions.”

With her determination to learn and experience from trial and error, she’s now an expert in selecting blood cockles. She can tell which ones taste good just by the way they look and smell. Blood cockles from different sources have different shells and smells. What E.Hoi is selling now are farmed blood cockles which grow big enough to fill out their shells. Their shells are thin and don’t have an odor, and they are easy to open. The price for these is rather high.

“They’re with me every day. We’re practically friends. Even blind people have to learn how to do everyday things. It’s the same for me. If I don’t eat them, I have to compensate for what I can’t do.

An Online Blood Cockle Restaurant That Utilizes Technology Perfectly

E.Hoi is a poached blood cockle restaurant that started out at a condo and sold through online delivery platforms. In addition, Ice orders all her ingredients online by using modern day communication technology, which makes things very convenient. If you can use it, you have a better chance of becoming an entrepreneur without having to even leave the comforts of your home.

“Nowadays, communication technology is very important and can help you a lot. If I went out looking for the blood cockles myself, I wouldn’t be able to carry 20 – 30 kg back every day. I also have other things to buy, so I definitely couldn’t do it alone. That’s why I order them through LINE. I also buy packaging through applications. It’s like someone’s doing the shopping for me. When I wake up in the morning, I just bring the things up to my room to sell. It’s because I’m using more technology in my business. However, there may be some delivery fees and trial and error fees. For example, just the fee for delivering the blood cockles from a farm is already 500 baht.”

Online Restaurants Must Provide Good Quality Products that Match the Product Advertisement

Restaurants without a store front that mainly sell online or through applications that manage the delivery, also called “ghost kitchen”, are a new trend that’s getting a lot of attention due to the readiness of platforms to support food delivery as well as the reduction of cost for managing a storefront. E.Hoi also originated from this. Something to think about is how, as a new restaurant, to build credibility with customers.

Ice’s explanation about this issue was interesting:  creating your own brand and image is essential. Your food must be the same as what you advertise.

“You can’t lie to the customer. What they get should be what you advertise. If the products don’t match, customers will definitely only order once. Recently, people have been using E.Hoi’s pictures to open their own restaurants. A customer of mine sent me pictures, telling me that someone had copied my pictures and restaurant name. They tried ordering from them and it wasn’t the same as what I make.”

“What I’ve said might sound easy, but I want to say that everything has details, starting with the blood cockles. I tried all kinds until I was sure I had the best one. The price is a little high, but I’m willing to pay it. When you pay for something, you want the good stuff. You have to pay a little more, but you get to eat something better. That’s more worth it than eating something that tastes bad. It’s better than regretting buying something bad. It’s a reflection on yourself if you buy something cheap and the quality’s no good. You really can’t sell it.”

This is reflected in the special jumbo-size blood cockles E.Hoi orders which are 30 – 35 clams per kg and 35 – 40 clams per kg. These are considered large since in the market what you’d find would be 90 clams per kg.  And then you’d have to wash them thoroughly each day. After poaching, the clams are opened to check for dirt and odor before being sent to customers. Ingredients such as chili, garlic and limes for making the sauce are ordered daily.

Adapting to the Covid-19 Situation

During the Covid-19 crisis, E.Hoi had to adapt like many other restaurants. It’s a change that could be for the better since there were infected patients in near Ice’s condo. So, she decided to go home to take a deep breath before deciding to officially open a storefront at the Sai Song Market.

“I told my family I wanted to continue the business, but the location here wasn’t the same as at the condo. Everyone here wants to walk in the market and shop for food. If I sold online like I did at the condo, I’d be finished. I had to see what I could do with the location, so I opened a storefront. However, you can’t open a restaurant on your own anymore, so I asked my older sister/brother to help me and now it’s a family business. Currently, E.Hoi has both a storefront and an online presence.”

E.Hoi sells from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and now has both local and remote customers. The original customers still order online and the new customers are people living near the restaurant. Since the customer base has doubled, the income has doubled, too. Before, E.Hoi would have on average 20 orders/day. Now, it’s 20 – 30 kg/day or around 40 – 60 orders/day.

“When I was selling without a storefront, I could only advertise with pictures. A disadvantage of that is the customers couldn’t see my processes, so I had only one chance to present the products. If I made a mistake, there was no chance to fix it. However, an advantage of having a storefront is that we can present the products to customer we meet and talk with, although disadvantages include the weather and rental cost. Although, another advantage is we can earn more income.”

Suggestions and Encouragement for Beginners

For people who are thinking about starting their own restaurant or businesses, Ice offered some suggestions and encouragement, “I want you to think about what you’re good at. Firstly, you have to do something you like and you have to see what the nearby ingredient sources are. What are the outstanding ingredients near your home that you can use to start a business? Let’s take jerky, for example. You have to use good packaging with a logo. Create something interesting and delicious. Take beautiful pictures that would draw people in to eat. These factors will gradually make your business grow. Most importantly, you have to be honest and not trick your customers.”

“Every business has its pros, cons and obstacles. If you sell online without a storefront, you still have to pay a fee to sell through an application just about as much as you would to rent a space. You have to study the ingredients you want to sell first. Learn everything about them, because I have a lot of people calling me saying they want to sell like I do.  Be when I ask them if they know how to store ingredients, none of them could say they did. They just want to do it and I’m afraid they’ll lose their money if they invested in something.  So, I want everybody to learn about everything before doing anything because modern technology is easily accessible. You can learn it from the Internet.”

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Deliveryสร้างอาชีพGhost Kitchenบทสัมภาษณ์ และรีวิว

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