Big Lines at HK Noodle Shop Selling 400 Bowls Daily under Unique Business Model

Big Lines at HK Noodle Shop Selling 400 Bowls Daily under Unique Business Model

A noodle menu at Dou Hua Mei Noodles Shop

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Big lines are forming daily at Dou Hua Mei Noodles Shop (address: Shop 4, G/F, Koon Kay Mansion, 57-63 Yen Chow St., Sham Shui Pol; Tel: 5114 4077), a popular store that opened for business this spring in Sham Shui Po.

Dou Hua Mei Noodles Shop, which had a soft open in March, is the creation of its two young owners. "Mixian rice noodles are a major component of the diet in the Yunnan region and they're hugely popular in Hong Kong, so we'd always been thinking about starting up our own shop," said Zhang Chao, one of the owners. "But we wanted to serve it a little bit differently from a regular mixian shop. First, in order to master mixian noodles without soup, we spent a month training in Yunnan."

The owners quickly became a hot topic on gourmet sites and elsewhere online, and in only two months Dou Hua Mei became a sensation with throngs of customers. Orders are takeout only due to the limited space of only 300 square feet, but a long line snakes its way through the narrow alley at meal times. The owners say the secret behind their success is "a perpetually captivating array of ingredients" and a "low-margin, high-turnover business model."

To order, a customer first selects one of three noodles: "dou hua mixian" (HK$14) made with tofu; "xile niurou mixian" (HK$17) with added beef stewed in Coca Cola and pickled Japanese apricot; or "niuwei mixian" (HK$20) containing cow tail boiled for three hours in red wine. Then one chooses toppings from among any of four varieties of ingredients (HK$5 per ingredient). Zhang said, "We envision having 108 types of ingredients all together. We want to keep customers wondering about what we'll offer next and never get tired of our flavors, so we think it best to serve just four types of ingredients each week, which also helps us manage quality and costs."

While many dining establishments in Hong Kong are raising prices as rents, food and other costs soar, Zhang and his partner had the original idea of creating a business model of serving food at low prices. In addition to offering low prices starting at HK$14 a bowl, the owners run their business according to a unique idea: "We have a daily profit goal of HK$700. If we earn more than that, we lower prices by one dollar for every 10,000 dollars." Zhang, who has a passion for this enterprise, added with enthusiasm, "There are still lots of things we want to do, and we want to take on all sorts of new challenges in the future, too."

Business hours are from 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., or until sold out.



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