Mr Pham, you're the owner of Jack Glockenbach. That's an unusual name for a Vietnamese restaurant...
I chose Glockenbach after the name of the Munich district where I opened my restaurant. And since I also used my first name, guests know right away whom they are dealing with. It was important to me that the restaurant's name be easy to pronounce and have a nice ring to everyone, not just to the Asian patrons.
What made you decide to go into business as a restaurateur?
I already knew as a child that I wanted to open a restaurant some day. In Vietnam, I once cooked for my entire class at school, with a starter and three main courses - one of which was a recipe I'd developed myself. Later, I travelled a lot as a "food tourist", always on the lookout for new dishes. When I came to Germany, I did an apprenticeship in my brother's restaurant. I then made the decision to start my own business in Munich.
What role do digital technologies play in your restaurant concept?
Nowadays, running a restaurant means more than just cooking. It also involves being familiar with digital marketing and sales channels. That's why I always keep myself updated online and try to reach my customers through social media and recommendation platforms such as Yelp or Tripadvisor. Another good example is the delivery service Foodora...
...which you are now cooperating with, right?
Exactly. With Foodora, customers can order freshly prepared meals from my restaurant and have them delivered directly to their home. What's especially great is that we can set the time for the food to be picked up from the kitchen. This keeps us flexible, even when things are really busy in the restaurant, but also enables us to respond to rush orders.
What advice would you offer to those looking to start a business?
You need to recognise within a short span of time whether something is working or whether it needs to be changed. So the biggest challenge is putting an idea into practice and allowing yourself to keep evolving. In my case, for example, after seven years in the food service industry I pursued a further qualification as a sommelier. It was a great experience and has not only benefited our wine selection: over half of our cocktails are now our own creations.
It's the digital impression that counts
A guest's hearty recommendation can be worth its weight in gold - especially if it can be seen around the world. Jack Pham relies on the benefits of online review portals, social media and services such as Foodora. While other food delivery services focus almost exclusively on snack bars and pizzerias, Foodora delivers delicacies from upscale restaurants; following the customer's simple order via app, the meals are delivered in eye-catching pink boxes by Foodora's eco-friendly bicycle delivery service.
Of coconut islands and streets of noodles
In Munich's Jack Glockenbach, Vietnamese restaurant owner Jack Pham combines good food with Asian dining culture. Where other menus categorise their main dishes under the simple headings of chicken or beef, Pham presents his customers with new culinary worlds - such as his coconut tsunami or his duck in coconut pond. But the majority of the menu options at Jack Glockenbach are vegetarian or vegan dishes. This attracts female customers in particular: in fact, 90 per cent of Pham's patrons are women.