After more than 30 years working in the Chinese restaurant business, this spring Becky Dong decided it was time to be her own boss. Encouraged by an enthusiastic and loyal customer base, Dong found a modern location close to her Cavan Monaghan customers and in March opened Happy Palace, a Chinese and Canadian restaurant in the retail mall off Brealey Drive facing the entrance to Fleming College.
While the restaurant location is not highly visible on a busy thoroughfare, business started quickly. However in May when Fleming students returned home for the summer, there was a sudden drop that was disconcerting to the newly minted entrepreneur. Soon word spread amongst her former customers that she had moved, and local farmers and men looking for a pre-game dinner found her, and her sales perked up again. With the college dorms just down the street, she is particularly busy during the school year, and now she can barely keep up with the demand, both sit down and take out.
At the moment, the restaurant operates with four staff in the kitchen, including Becky. She certainly has talent in that department, but her real skill is with people. She recognizes her customers by name and remembers their stories, and looks forward to spending more time in the front of the business, talking to her customers whom she says are like her family. There is room for more help in the front and the back of the restaurant, but Becky is taking her time to find the right staff and with her years of experience, she knows what she is looking for and will not jump to a decision.
It seems that after seeing how others do it, she is eager to do things her way. With less than a year running her own show under her belt, it seems her customers also see things her way. Congratulations, Becky! KG