My family and I have walked up to and walked away from Brotzeit in Yoho mall, Yuen Long, several times. Each time uncertain by the lack of customers and lack of expression and interaction from the staff.
Finally today we succumbed to the need for hearty German food which we have missed and find lacking in the north of Hong Kong. Braving zero customers at the peak of lunchtime on a Saturday, we went in. Another family behind us followed us in, also looking hesitant.
Both waitresses couldn't speak Chinese. Thankfully not a problem for us. We asked questions, ordered and thanked the polite but timid waitress. The other table, I think we're scared off by seeing this. They looked perhaps unable to speak English and promptly got up and walked out!
The lunch deals board had some spelling mistakes and was not too clear on what was on offer. So it was good to talk with the waitress about things like: $68 salad meant any salad on the a la carte menu. Also that adding $10 meant choosing coffee like mocha and cappuccino instead of regular coffee.
The starter was a lovely tomato stuffed with seasoned salad and ham and feta cheese. Would have been good to add olives and more feta but was really fresh and tasty anyway. The starter soup was also lovely and velvety. A decent potato and leek soup with good rye bread slices BUT no butter! Would be good to have a little butter next time.
The main dish of sausages and roast potatoes were nice. Not bad for Hong Kong and the potatoes were well done. The sauces that came with the dish were plenty and complimented the food. It would be a good idea to offer mashed potato as HK people tend to like having a choice and the texture combination of soft with hard is popular in HK. Also historically we are used to the English sausage and mash concept and the familiarity helps sell to HK people.
The main of seafood salad was great. Well seasoned and with a generous portion of smoked salmon, tuna, prawns, orange segments, grilled courgettes and olives. I'd come back again for this but am looking forward to try the other salads. The staff must know what are in the salads and should explain and sell this dish. This is really important as salad in HK can mean anything from just lettuce and salad cream to tinned fruit in salad cream. HK people in general, are not very educated when it comes to salads. Especially if in Yuen Long.
All desserts are half price so we chose the dessert platter of Apple strudel, chocolate lava cake, chocolate icecream and pancakes. At $70 this was enough for 4 people! The icecream and chocolate lava cake were lovely. The strudel tasted ok but a squirt of ready whipped cream would have been great and familiar to HK people as this is the usual thing they expect and love. The pancakes had a lovely berry compote but honey or syrup would have made them amazing. With coffee, this dessert platter was a real treat and reminded us of being back in Europe again.
It is important to note that HK people very much like to see if other people are in the restaurant before considering going in. A greeter at the door is very important to introduce the menu, specials and welcome/entice the customers in. We only found out about the $100 voucher and coupons upon paying. Brotzeit Yoho mall should have this in a poster at the door and the greeter should mention it. There is a lot of footfall above the restaurant in the main mall areas. There Is also a lot of restaurant competition upstairs. You should send some staff with Apple strudel samples up there to promote the restaurant downstairs. Maybe even hand out some vouchers. Just make sure you have the Apple strudel nice and buttery and crisp with decent cinnamon and apple taste. Not soggy and limp.
Chinese, both mandarin and cantonese is essential for Yuen Long. The demographic is nearly all Chinese and most won't speak or read much English. I haven't checked but using social apps like Weixin and Wechat to advertise special offers will greatly enhance appeal to the Chinese. Discounts and offers are like gold to the Chinese. Deals like 'download Brotzeit app get 10% off first meal' will be really enticing to them. Or "dine with us and get $100 voucher" wow if they hear that, people will be queuing up!
It is important to add food items like roast chicken, roast pork knuckle and lamb on the menu as the Chinese love these 'western' dishes. Please do get rid of spaghetti and meatballs from the lunch specials as hardly anyone will find that enticing. Just do a record check of the last 3 months and number of times this was ordered at the Yoho mall branch to get this confirmation. Also change the salad special to read 'choose any salad from the menu' and be sure to get a lot more takers.
The restaurant next door is selling Mediterranean food and you have to watch out because they are strong competition. Your menu needs to compete and offer something different to them so you must check and do this. I wrote a review about their restaurant a few weeks ago on how great they were so you need to step up the game Brotzeit.
I'm a big fan of German food and it would be a shame to see Brotzeit in Yoho mall close so soon after opening. The significant lack of customers scares me. The food was great and amazingly priced. We visited and were pleasantly surprised and will definitely return for the great food but I just hope the other locals will get it and dine there too.
Ps - by the time we left, the restaurant was nearly full. Probably the first time we have seen this. Good luck and all the best Brotzeit!
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