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The Secret of Attracting & Winning Customers

Ding Tai Fung - The famous Shanghainese RestaurantThe world famous Restaurant “Din Tai Fung” ( opened a new branch in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong in early 2010. I particularly went there for dinner to try their renowned dishes. That day the waiting area was crowded with customers early at 6pm. There were local and foreign customers from all over the world.

When waiting for the seat, I saw many Dim Sum Workers making dumplings in the room which was built by glass partitions. The Dim Sum Workers were divided into groups of 8 to 10 people. Each group is responsible for making dumplings of different flavours.

Their division of labor was precise and clear. In each group some workers prepared the dumpling skin by rubbing the flour dough. Some put the stuffing material into the dumpling skin. Some trimmed the skin of the stuffed dumpling into good shape. But in the work processes there included a special step: that is to weigh each stuffed dumpling with a small digital weight. It was to make sure that each dumpling made is of equal weight, meeting the standard requirement.

Among the Dim Sum Workers, there was a “Coach” responsible for quality check. I saw him taking up a dumpling skin and placed it under the light. “This dumpling skin has not been uniformly rubbed. We cannot see through the dumpling skin under the light!” he pointed and said to a Dim Sum worker.

I have been to many Shanghainese restaurants in Hong Kong. Yet this is my first time to experience such a strict demand for quality in Shanghainese restaurants. Being a customer, I felt that “we were fortunate!!!”

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In the waiting area there was a video showing how “Din Tai Fung” set up the new branch. On the screen there was a lady teaching an Auntie how to wash dishes. The voice over said, “Din Tai Fung demands for utmost high quality in every aspect. They not only sent subject matter experts from Taiwan to train up local staff in making dumplings and customer service. They also sent Dish Washing Specialist from Taiwan to teach the local staff how to wash dishes in their “Din Tai Fung” way. After watching the introduction, I talked to myself gently ”Really???”

During the dinner, I observed their serving staff. I found their serving staff had worked very cooperatively. Whenever the customers paid their bills and left the table, a team of three staff would take action.  One staff removed the used dishes, bowls and chopsticks, etc. from the table. The other staff cleaned up the table and the third one set the table with clean dishes, bowls and chopsticks, etc. By then the reception staff had brought the new round of customers to take the seat. Their serving staff had demonstrated very good team work with high efficiency.

I noticed that the staff who took away the used dishes and bowls, he placed them in a big plastic basin. What he did differently was: he put down the dishes or bowls one by one very “cautiously” without making any noise. Also for the staff who set up the table, he placed the dishes and bowls very “gently” on the table. This was very different from those restaurants whose staff “dumped” the used dishes and bowls into the plastic basin and “threw” the clean dishes and bowls on the table. The “Din Tai Fung” staff has done it in a much nicer way.

For the staff who cleaned the table, he first sprayed the detergent on the table. Then he used a wet cloth to clean and wipe the table. While in many other restaurants, the staff only used the same cloth to wipe tables many times for many tables. “Din Tai Fung” has done far more better. The “clean and tidy up” process made us feel like eating at home. Din Tai Fung – you were SUPER!!!

I watched and thought, “ Din Tai Fung” has done its best in every bit of the work processes. Would this be their Secret of Attracting and Winning Customers?!


By Maria Leung

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