Greenwood Chinese Has a Special Plan for Serving Groups of 10

Without small business, we’re nothing. TheLatch— and GoDaddy have teamed up to rally behind local businesses and entrepreneurs during this unprecedented time of change.

We’re speaking to small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country to better understand how they’re adapting to stay open, how they’re keeping their community safe, and how we can support them now during this time, and beyond. We’re focused on keeping Australia open for business, even if doors are closed. #OpenWeStand

Greenwood Chinese has become a go-to for office workers in North Sydney. Operating inside Greenwood Plaza since it first opened, it specialises in traditional Cantonese food. Some of its most popular dishes include Grilled Whole Squid Brushed With Teriyaki and Sweet Sauce, and Sauteed King Prawn With Fragrant Garlic Vermicelli and Pork Mince. Anyone else salivating?

Since the restaurant first felt the effects of the coronavirus, it shifted its operations to offer delivery as well as takeaway. Delivery was a new service for the business, and allowed it to keep more staff on board.

In an interview with TheLatch—, sales manager Kay Chan, spoke of some of the positives to come out of this time. One, was that the unexpected downtime meant she now has more time to dedicate to the business’ website, which she operates using GoDaddy tools and services. She explained, “Now that I have spent time updating our website, I realise how easy it is to change a certain look, or to upload photos, or to update menus”. She also spoke of the opportunity for staff to bond on days where the restaurant is quiet.

Read more about how Chan is thinking about the future of the business, and what it has planned in-store from May 15, when the NSW Government begins to ease restrictions and allow up to 10 guests to dine in at restaurants. We suggest gathering your nine closest friends, for a special night out.

Greenwood Chinese

TheLatch— Hello! I’ve heard great things about your restaurant. Can you please share a bit about the restaurant and how you came to run Greenwood Chinese.

Kay Chan: Of course! We’re based in North Sydney, so out of the CBD on the Lower North Shore. The restaurant itself has been standing since the opening of Greenwood Plaza. However, we’re probably the third generation of owners of the restaurant. Over the years it has changed owners a couple of times but our owner Philip has been managing the place for six, maybe seven years. 

TL: Well, it’s bang on lunchtime and I haven’t eaten yet — I’m so hungry looking at your menu online! Tell me, how was business before the coronavirus hit?

KC: It was vibrant. Being in the middle of an office area, we’d be flat out during the week with business people. But then we do have our own little community of customers with a Chinese, or Cantonese background. They love dining with us, because Philip [the owner] has a background in traditional Cantonese food. His flavour is very much suited for people from Hong Kong, or the South Eastern China area. That’s where his taste bud is.

TL: Sounds delicious. So when did the business first start feeling the effects of the coronavirus?

KC: February, right when we started to see it really impact China and our local media was reporting on it.

TL: Until the Government called for restaurants to close to customers, how did you pivot your operations?

KC: To be honest, not much of a change was put in place prior to the actual announcement, aside from keeping a high level of hygiene, which we always do. We just made sure all our staff, whether it’s front of house or back of house, were constantly sanitising.

Greenwood Chinese

TL: And when the Government did put those changes in place, how did you pivot your business? Did you start offering more takeaway? What changed for you in that respect?

KC: As soon as the Government announcement came through, we switched to takeaway and delivery, which was facilitated through having our menu on the GoDaddy website. We were doing takeaway before, but we weren’t doing home delivery. So it was a huge learning curve for us to focus on just delivery and takeaway. 

TL: Has that been popular? Have you been finding that you’re doing more deliveries for your lunch or dinner service?

KC: The dinner service is most popular, and normally it’s Friday, Saturday and Sunday night where we’re slightly busier than on other days.

TL: The Government has announced that from Friday, we can have 10 patrons in a restaurant. Will you be offering that to your customers?

KC: To be honest, it’s a little hard for us. Only because the restaurant itself does sit 299 people. We will only open for bookings and so we’ll treat the service almost like a VIP exclusive type booking — so up to 10 people, as opposed to opening for walk-ins. If anything at the moment, I think we’ll still focus on delivery and takeaway as that is the only way to enable us to be able to keep our staff running. And if we do happen to receive bookings for up to 10 people from Friday, we’ll look at having an exclusive dining experience for them.

“We’ll look at having an exclusive dining experience.”

TL: Oh that sounds like fun!

KC: It’s still up to what the customers want to eat though. We’ll allow them to order as per they wish, as opposed to us dictating a set menu. But we will be looking at say, securing a room just for them. Having one or two staff looking after them solely.

Otherwise, if we were to open like normal and just have walk-in customers and having 10 people at any one time, that would be very hard for us, because our diners tend to come in a group of a small family.

So we will still focus on delivery and takeaways, but have that option if you would like, to make a pre-reservation for that 10 people allowance.

TL: Talk to me about your website and how you set that up — was it easy to adjust your platform during this time?

KC: Yeah, for sure. So our website was originally set up about two years ago, after we had a major renovation. The whole restaurant was facelifted and so we had our website with GoDaddy set up back then, too. It’s easy to use, and I organise all the updates myself. In the past, it could get a bit challenging [updating the website] with other tasks on hand, but along came coronavirus, and it gave me an opportunity to really go into it and dedicate more time to it. Now that I have spent time updating our website, I realise how easy it is to change a certain look, or to upload photos, or to update menus. I’ve loved it.

Greenwood Chinese

TL: Do you think that the way you operate your business will be changed for good?

KC: That’s a very good question! I don’t think it will be changed for good, in terms of delivery or takeaway. I’m just trying to enter that mindset, because of the number of people we have on deck. At the moment, by having a delivery option available, we’re able to have about half of our staff on board. Or two-thirds of our back of house staff are working already. And so if we are opening the restaurant as we would normally, it would become a very challenging environment to operate delivery as well.

I’ve also noticed traffic on the roads has started to increase again over the last week or so, so that will mean we’ll have to change the distances we’re delivering to, as we won’t have the time to deliver to as many suburbs.

So if everything goes back to normal, we could still be open to offering delivery but it will be at certain times, and we’ll have to limit the areas we do deliver to.

We’re waiting to see when we go back to normal, and what normal even looks like.

“We’re waiting to see when we go back to normal, and what normal even looks like.”

TL: There’ll be a new normal!

KC: Correct! So we’ll just have to play it by ear.

TL: Do you think that there’ll be a positive that comes out of this?

KC: From a business point of view, yes. Funnily enough, there has been a lot more exposure for the business. With our delivery drivers out on the road, we’re finding new business as people ask what restaurant we are delivering from.

So from a business perspective, yes. And it gave us an opportunity to try different things as well. So that’s all a positive. We have had some very slow days where we get one or two calls, one or two orders a day, but at the same time, our staff got to know each other a little bit better. So I see a great positive in that, too.

TL: That’s so lovely to hear!

KC: There are still positives out of everything.

If you live in the area, order from Greenwood Chinese and support a small local business.

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