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*** BatteryPark.TV has selected this establishment as a Best of Downtown for sushi
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4 World Financial Ctr # 4
We spoke with the new new operating partner of Yushi, Daniel Lachs
BatteryPark.TV: When did you take over Yushi?
Yushi’s Mr. Lachs: I formally took over as the operating partner for Yushi on September 5th, 2011. I have had my eye on the concept for quite some time and always felt that the concept could be a market leader with some refining and fine tuning.
BPTV: What other restaurants do you own or manage?
Yushi: I am the principal in DML Hospitality group which also has ownership stake in a restaurant that recently opened on 12th St and University Place called Tortaria. The concept there is a Mexican sandwich shop and tequila bar in an old style Mexican bodega setting. The only real similarities between the two concepts is that they both fall under the quick casual service umbrella.
I am also a partner in CAC group, the parent company for Yushi Asian Kitchen. CAC group also owns a concept called Betel Bar & Kitchen located at 51 Grove Street in the west village.
BPTV: What changes did you make at Yushi?
Yushi: One of the first things we did when I took over at Yushi was sit down with some of our guests who were followers of the brand and ask them for their feedback. We wanted to hear what people thought of us and we wanted to start with the people who were currently coming in. It was a difficult process to put yourself through as we literally went under a microscope and it was hard at times to hear that people just felt the who brand needed a facelift.
We started with our food and focused on giving people more options and the opportunity to become true Yushi fans and eat here multiple times a week. In order to do that we added a build your own rice and noodle bowl line that features a variety of fresh cooked protein & veggie options that we previously didn’t offer. We call this product our Yu-bowl and it’s been a huge success so far.
We focused on the brand and the image that we give off. You can’t help but hear Yushi and immediately think Sushi, it’s one of those mind games that certain words play. We needed to get away from that so that people could begin to associate us with awesome Asian flavors and not just sushi. We also didn’t want to re-name the company completely and so we came up with Yushi Asian Kitchen which I think speaks to what we are and what we want to be in the future. We also updated the logo to represent the new name as Asian kitchen needed to be a prevalent part of the image going forward. (I attached a copy of the two new images for you to see)
The last piece to the puzzle was our team. We had to give our team the skill set and the knowledge that they needed to be able to execute day in and day out and this is definitely the hardest part for anybody in the restaurant business. We continue to work with our managers daily to ensure that our execution is perfect and that we have a happy team in our stores.
BPTV: When did the crowds start coming in?
Yushi: We have always had a following but I think that our customers began spreading the word for us over the past 2 -3 months and that we are sort of just recently starting to see the fruits of our labor. This business is tough cause you can “tear the walls down” fairly quickly with one or two bad days, but the “re-building” process takes time. I don’t have kids myself but I always compare it to having children because you have to nurture a restaurant in every sense of the word. You have to nurture the staff, you have to nurture the guest and you certainly have to nurture your investors.
BPTV: What is the concept? What do you offer?
Yushi: The concept is a pan Asian kitchen. We have a selection of cold grab and go items such as sushi, sashimi & maki boxes along with some cold salad boxes and sides. We have a selection of hot grab and go items such as teriyaki salmon, chicken katsu, Pad thai, soba noodles and soups and then you have our newest addition to the offering which is the Yu-bowl line, a build your own rice and noodle bowl line that consists of a choice between four unique items for a base, four protein options, eight vegetables between hot and cold, some sauce and some garnish.
BPTV: What are your next plans?:
Yushi: We have so much going on but I will give you small peak into our world. Sometime in the next two weeks we will launch our new website at www.yushinyc.com. In June we will be opening what will be the flagship location for Yushi Asian Kitchen at 100 Maiden Lane. This is a really exciting thing for all of us at CAC group (parent company for Yushi) as we all feel that we offer something unique and that separates us from the other competitors in this segment.
At the same time we are always working on offering our guests an awesome experience and great food and so we continue to work on the Yushi Asian sandwich station a line of grab and go hot sandwiches using Asian flavors. We hope to launch these in time for the opening of the maiden lane store .
We are also working hard on Yushi Asian Kitchen catering which we want to launch full scale this Fall. We have a lot of work to do but were enthusiastic about it our guests make it easy for us to get better because they provide us with so much feedback. I made it my mission when I took over to personally respond to every guest that sends us feedback so that I can ensure that their voices are heard and it has paid off. I learn more and more about our guests every day and it’s my job to ensure that we are successful and the only what we can be successful is if our guests feel good about joining us for a meal.