Nghi Nguyen is founder and operator of Velo Restaurant, a single unit fast casual restaurant concept. It’s located on London’s Tooley Street, right near the big skyscraper called the Shard.

Nghi spends a lot of time out of the shop, and keeps in touch via email, Google Hangouts and the Logitech CCTV system.

He started in food service in April 2008 developing the restaurant system he uses today. Coming from a background in investment banking, Nghi embraced technology from day 1.

His advice to his 20-year old self is trust your instincts, be curious, and work very hard.

He has discovered there’s no universal formula when working with people – there’s luck involved in finding the right manager who can look after your interests when you are not in the store.

There’s two things he would like to automate – the quality of service, and the quality of the food. Feedback and monitoring mechanisms would come in handy here!

Nghi uses Wunderlist extensively for checklists and tracking tasks.

He had two worst moments:

  1. losing £20k in Value Added Tax then winning a case with the HMRC to get it back
  2. ordering an 81sq ft pane of glass and having no one on hand to fit it

Nghi uses Coniq which is a marketing platform with built-in tracking of redemptions. Coniq allows him to send an email out to his database and track who comes in and redeems the offer. Nghi has grown his database using Coniq from 800 to 6000 people and it’s his single most important marketing tool.

Next up is scaling the business through catering. Nghi has identified an opportunity to use the kitchen out of hours and put together a catering business.

Nghi is most excited about the fast casual concept, the bringing together of food and people – which there will always be a need for.

He loves The Caterer magazine for industry information.

Reach out to Nghi at velorestaurant.com or [email protected].

fast casual restaurant velo in tooley street, london