Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Andy Page, Owner of Tomyum Restaurant and Wine Bar, located in Toronto, ON, CA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
An upscale restaurant and wine bar with southeast Asian taste served in Tapas style; I'm creating a place where people can hang out with friends and family while enjoying awesome food and wine. I'm interested in taking local ingredients, deconstructing them, and making familiar feel foreign, thereby giving an even greater appreciation to the food as a whole
Tell us about yourself
I lived in Europe for 15 years and was keen on traveling. Spain and Portugal were two of my favorite destinations, where I visited tons of restaurants and made friends with chefs from different backgrounds. Since then, I have already built up my passion for food and drinks. Prior to moving to Canada, I also traveled to southeast Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, etc.) to experience the food and culture there. I realized that blending the European tapas-style with the Asian twist would be an awesome concept that no one else is currently doing in Canada. Also, with a background in finance and economics, I got my CPA designations in Ireland, where I worked in big four accounting firms and large consulting companies and got to work with clients from the hospitality industry as well. This experience was a bonus because I could actually think out of the box compared to the typical culinary school route.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Founded Tom Yum restaurant and wine bar during the pandemic, within only nine months (including two months of lockdown), tripled the sales, successfully hosted five private events, and was invited by Second Harvest to participate in Toronto Taste as one of the top 30 best restaurants in Toronto. In addition, the mural wall in my wine bar (co-designed and created with Artist Alex Bacon) has been included as part of the Art map created by MASSIVart.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
People management and team building. During the pandemic, we lost tons of talent in the hospitality industry, the turnover rate was extremely high, and all the restaurants were fighting over top talents; therefore, it's extremely important to implement a sustainable approach to retain talent and build your team. You need to ensure that your team understands the strategy and that they are part of the journey with you. You also need to be extremely patient and recognize the learning curve when onboarding new members.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Time doesn't wait. If you have a dream to pursue, but the opportunity cost to give up your current career is too high, then start somewhere, and be ready. Opportunity only comes to those who are prepared.
- You have to know your financial data; if the number is not working out mathematically, it won't be a successful business.
- Once you start, you must believe in yourself and trust your gut. You are the one who came up with this idea and the only one capable of carrying it through to the end.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
You can find me in downtown Toronto; we are located at 21 Grenville Street. Open for any collaborations, DM me or email me.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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