SEAN TSAI

If you always think big and have the right team/right people next to you, then you will achieve it.

Would you start by giving us a little bit of your background?

My background is actually in Real Estate hotel development. I was fortunate enough to work for this gentleman named Jay Gold. We development hotel project in British Virgin Island with Taj Mahal group.  So I work under him and also under Donald Trump. In 2008-2009 when the whole economy tanked, I asked myself what  direction should I go next.?.  Luckily, I knew Dre Kroon who wrote many songs for the band LMFAO.  He brought me on board into the music industry and soon after I opened a company called The Studio Box.  As a company, we later teamed up with Exchange Club in Los Angeles for many EDM events. Then we had the pleasure to show case Tokyo Night/Tokyo Collaboration which does Japanese friendly events.  So I was lucky and able to harvest on these great connections I was able to make.  Witnessing first hand on how these music producers grew so successful, though I had to learn as I went, jumped into a new field, they inspired me to push harder. 

How did the transition happen from that to the next?

As you can imagine, in the music/entertainment industry, the revenues are not consistent.  A hit can generate a huge income, but a hit may not come as you expect.  So I started to think of ways to generate more consistent revenues.  Since the time I was a boy, I was around the restaurant business.  Actually, my family is from San Diego, which is where I also grew up, owned few restaurant business.  Being around it so much, it made sense to start my own.  I started with a couple of small ventures with a few of my friends, but now I have “FOH” Front of the house, my biggest one up to date.  For FOH, I’m able to entertain my clients from the entertainment industry side.  I’m able to bridge between the two different industries under one roof, one place.  And here’s what is most interesting, when I can bring my celebrity friends to the restaurant, I’m able to entertain them also have them help me promote my restaurant.  I believe, in any business, if you can cut down the cost of marketing yet still be able to effectively market it, it leads you to a successful business.

How did you find a good team to do business with?

All my core members were all my close friends.  I believe in brotherhood.  So when we started, we already had the trust and were able to focus on the big picture, the goals we wanted to achieve.  

How do you motivate your team to want to work as hard as you do?

There’s no trick to it.  I think if you call someone a brother, then you should share the same vision and goal.  If everybody understands where the goal is and want it, hungry enough to get it, then we’ll run together to get it.  It’s my job to paint a vision for my team to see, and make it believable, worth to go get.  Equally important is to have a team that’s willing to sacrifice with you.  It’s all about the end goal.

Do you think Los Angeles is a good place to do business?

Yes!  I like to think so because I love diversity.  To me, that’s the key.  I mean, you can go anywhere and taste the best food of any choice.  That means people can get hip to and educated about more things.  And if the people are educated and they know, you just have to provide the best product, and they will know, understand, seek you out as well.

Especially when the people are eager and hungry to learn new things, to know, to find out, get educated…

When you have diversity and opportunity, with all the world’s smartest people, the richest, the beautiful…they all come here to LA to chase their dream. This is a great place to brand company, yourself, anything!  If you build a successful brand in LA, you can take it to anywhere in the world. 

While on that topic, is that part of your next plan, to extend out to other states?

Yes definitely.  Once we are well branded here, we would like to go to San Diego, Las Vegas, Japan, Taiwan, many other countries.  But the bottom line is, we have to make sure our first venture kick off successfully.

Speaking of branding, why did you name your restaurant FOH (Front Of the House)?

As you may know, the back of the house means the “Kitchen”.  And front of the house is where customer service and hospitality take place.  L.A. has so many great restaurants and when I thought of how to be different from others I felt that having a great customer service, i.e. how you treat the customers, what kind of staff, how to decorate the restaurant, how the food tastes, is what’s going to make them come back.  My goal is to give my customers a great experience and smiles on their faces when they come here.  So this is why we call FOH: front of the house, it’s about customer service and hospitality.

Do you have a plan after FOH, the "next plan" so-to-speak? 

Well, we all have to move up and I’d like to get back into what I mentioned before about my experience in hotel development.  I am looking into develop boutique hotels.  Actually, we are teaming up with Shade Hotel group in Manhattan beach/ Redondo beach. we’re in the process of searching for a location in downtown Napa Valley.   Part of our 5 year plan is to start with the small, mom&pop size, then after successfully running that, do a mid-size one; FOH is where that is, about 7200 sq. ft., full liquor, more luxurious.  Once that is on the resume, people will believe you when you want to take on the bigger size project because you’ve already done the small-project to the middle size project, and eventually conquer the big hotel projects.  

Wow, so you had that already in your vision when you started?

Yes.  And so far, we’ve been on track.  We try our best to stick to the game plan.

Lastly, do you have any advice or message for people who want to achieve their goal or business in L.A.?

A wise man once spoken, When you thinking big or thinking small, both take the same amount of energy…then why limit yourself? If you always think big and have the right team/right people next to you, then you will achieve it.

Great advice.  Thank you very much!

Information

FOH restaurant
615 South Flower St. Los Angeles CA 90017
(213) 537-0554

www.FOHrestaurant.com https://locot.myjobot.com/place/foh

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