Boost Profit for Your Low-Profit Restaurant with Jemuek, Owner of Lom Yak on Phetchaburi Soi 5!

Jul 17, 2021
Who’d believe that a restaurant that looked like it’s on its way out would one day learn to survive and earn more profit? And it’s been such an amazing comeback that, today, MHA is revealing the lessons they learned and following up on the results of the mission of reviving the restaurant with Jemuek, owner of Lom Yak on Phetchaburi Soi 5 and one of the participants of MHA Advise Molds Businesses into Pros, a project by Makro Horeca Academy (MHA) where MHA gives consultations to restaurateurs who are Makro and MHA members so they can survive and earn more profit. Most importantly, the nickname Million-View Jemuek was gotten due to an MHA Advise video clip featuring the Lom Yak restaurant which has up to 1,300,000 views. You can click to watch it here.

Lom Yak doesn’t earn as much profit as you think…

Before getting into the mission to revive Lom Yak, MHA would like to mention something about the restaurant. Jemuek or Ms. Thitaphat Wirapathomsak, the owner of Lom Yak on Phetburi Soi 5, likes to eat kuaitiao, bami and holy basil, so she wanted to open a restaurant that serves the dishes that she likes and that everyone can eat without getting bored. As for the origins of the name Lom Yak, since she likes to eat big meals, usually ordering 2-3 dishes when eating out, she wanted to open a restaurant where customers can eat and feel full with just one dish. The restaurant’s concept is, “If you’re eat a lot, order the giant serving.” As for the words “Lom Yak”, they’re from the extra-large service size. If a customer can finish it in 30 minutes, they can eat it for free. The restaurant calls this the “lom yak” size.

Before requesting a consultation from the MHA Advise Project, Ms. Muek had opened Lom Yak for about 5 – 6 months, but the restaurant had always had issues, including things like slow cooking time, serving the wrong dish, cooking the wrong dish and not having enough employees. However, the worst problem was earning very little profit. Although Lom Yak’s sales were up to six figures per month, the profit was only 5,000 – 20,000 baht. Due to these issues which have been accumulating for months, she considered selling the restaurant. However, since she still had customers, she put up with it and continued and started to realize that there was probably something wrong, so she started to look for a solution. 
“I had a chance to go to a Makro event before a chef came to help me improve my restaurant. I went to an event at Makro Srinakarin where people could consult with chefs about the problems they had and learn how to fix them, so I applied,” Ms. Muek tells us.

The turning point with MHA Advise

Ms. Muek consulted with an expert from MHA Advise Molds Businesses into Pros and consulted with Chef Job for about 30 minutes. Initially, Natthini “Chef Job” Plotthong, an expert in menu planning and kitchen operation trainer, gave some advice on the restaurant’s ingredient management. From estimating, change to measuring ingredients. This method is good for reducing ingredient problems. The results from the improvement according to Chef Job’s advice clearly reduced ingredient problems. However, there were still many other problems that the restaurant was still waiting to resolve. That’s why Ms. Muek decided to join the MHA Advise Project to receive more expert advice.

Because she joined MHA Advise, other than getting advices from Chef Job on a regular basis, Ms. Muek has also received additional advices from Chef Daniel Althaus, former executive chef of a 5-star hotel and the kitchen of a leading airline, to help manage her restaurant issues. Both Chef Job and Chef Daniel went to her restaurant to offer free consultations.

Trim the menu to boost profit

The first improvement the chefs recommended was to manage the menu by cutting out items that didn’t sell well or that no one ordered, leaving only good sellers. The chefs’ reason was that it was a way to manage the ingredients. It helps to reduce the cost by reducing ingredients that she didn’t use but kept until they spoiled. And so Ms. Muek cut out the excessive number of bami toppings, leaving only three, and cut out the fried pork topping, because it didn’t sell, and then recalculated the cost of the topping to make it more profitable. As for holy basil dishes, she reduced the dishes from 30 down to only 10, keeping only the ones that actually sell. This helped her manage the stock much better.

It took a lot of homework before she could trim the menu. It took about 10 days for both Ms. Muek and Chef Job to re-categorize the menu and collect the order statistics of each dish as well as set up a POS (Point of Sale) system to collect the statistics to see which dishes sell well or don’t sell at all and she had to report to the chef periodically.

Faster serving time with a reorganized kitchen

Chef Daniel recommended a method for solving the flow issues of the restaurant’s operation, which is caused by having too many cooking stations all spread out which requires more people. The chef recommended that the stations be moved to the appropriate spots as follows:
1. The pot for boiling wontons, the microwave and the crispy pork should be moved to the bami zone. Being spread out, as they originally were, makes dish preparation slow.
2. Move the fridge from upstairs down to the kitchen, so the employees don’t have to waste time to run up when they need an ingredient. The food can be put out faster and a lot of time can be saved.

The chef also improved the order management system. The chef recommended Ms. Muek to solve the problem by adding clips, hooks and a rail for clipping orders. That way, the orders are arranged neatly and don’t get lost. The original method she used was piling the orders together or holding the slips and running up and down to grab the ingredients for the orders.

Post-change results:

The mission to revive Lom Yak on Phetchaburi Soi 5 has been going on for over 3 months. The results: You can say the business has been greatly recovered.
“From the 5,000 baht I got when I first opened, after following the chefs’ recommendations, I’m now seeing a 6-figure profit. Before, I worked without a salary for myself but still only have no more than 5,000, 15,000 or 20,000 left over. Now, I’ve set aside a salary for myself starting at 40,000 baht first. The rest is profit.”

Ms. Muek also told us about some ideas from the chefs about sales and menus. Sometimes, if the sales are the

same, but you can control the cost better, such as wages or ingredient cost, you can earn more profit.  In addition, if you can open your restaurant on some of the days you used to take off without affecting the wages, that’s

another way to boost profit.

“Right now, my restaurant’s sales are the same but profits are up because:

  1. I don’t have to waste money on ingredients I buy and can’t sell and then spoil.
  2. I don’t have to hire part-timers.
  3. I can open the restaurant every day without having to take days off.”
    Improving your restaurant doesn’t always mean more expenses. A lot of your equipment might be in the wrong place or not used to their fullest capacity, but if you have the buying power and can use them to their fullest potential, it’s the right investment for your restaurant.
    “For example, we had a microwave at the restaurant, but we didn’t really use it. Most of the time, we used an electric stove for stewing pork or beef. Everything can be made into portions and then microwaved so it doesn’t spoil. Also, our fridge used to be on the third floor. The employees had to run up there from the second floor to grab ingredients. The chef advised on how the fridge should be here, where it should be and how it should be used to save time and energy from running. That way, we won’t have to run up to get ingredients. He also told us how to store ingredients, which fridge they should be kept in and how to use the ingredients we already had but didn’t know how to use.”
Today, Ms. Muek still has to do her homework and hand it in to the chefs every day. She still has to keep statistics on what sells well and what doesn’t sell well because the chefs still want to trim the menu even more to increase efficiency. The MHA Advise team is still contacting and counseling Ms. Muek on a regular basis, including the recent Covid-19 crisis, on how to adapt or to give her a new challenge.
Currently, the challenge is a mission to develop new menu items using the existing ingredients without having to use new ingredients and to create a new menu item to maintain her customer base, keep them from getting bored and get them to keep coming back. Ms. Muek doesn’t have to pay anything to Makro Horeca Academy. Before saying goodbye, Ms. Muek wants to encourage restaurateurs to overcome obstacles in this current crisis and also wants to tell restaurateurs that they first need to understand the business.
“I used to think it was scary, but the more I learn with Makro Horeca Academy, the more I realize that I used to think more sales meant more profit. However, if you really learn about the restaurant business, you actually don’t have to do that much. The cost for everything needs to be calculated. Also, really learn about restaurant systems. You don’t need to sell a lot to get a lot of profit. I want every restaurant to study and learn more about the business or you can consult with Makro Horeca Academy at no charge. How many of you are there? I’d recommend it, even if there were ten of you because Makro doesn’t just sell you ingredients. In my mind, Makro gives you many things. For example, they gave me a chance to overcome obstacles. They’re like our friend. Makro is our friend. They don’t just sell you ingredients.”

Finally, MHA wants to encourage Jemuek of Lom Yak on Phetchaburi Soi 5 and all restaurateurs out there to survive and increase their profit. In addition, Makro Horeca Academy has many other restaurants that have joined our special project, MHA Advise Molds Businesses into Pros. You can watch the clips below to get advices from experts from Makro Horeca Academy so you can improve your restaurant.

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