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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Restaurant business success stories for gloomy times

Chosun Ilbo has started a series of stories of successful restaurant keepers in their 20s and 30s, with the intention to give hints to alleviate youth unemployment by showing how some have succeeded.

The latest is about Mr Ch'oe (Choi). He is not actually a restaurateur but the chef and the head of the R&D team at the Bennigan's family restaurant chain. An interesting detail in his life history; he quit working in the hotel after his parents' business went bankrupt during the late 90s economic crisis ("IMF"), and started selling a kind of fish paste (ômuk) and ttôkpokki, in which he succeeded, could help his parents start the motel (yôgwan) business again and gathered himself a good deal of self-confidence.

The second success story is a couple who keeps a Pizza Hut restaurant; "we haven't been on a vacation for 10 years; from a part-time deliverer to a franchise shop keeper". The both were originally employed at Pizza Hut, where they met, got married and were given their own place to operate after a long service, what, nine years. In fact the place that this couple keeps is rare that it is under their own control (saôpkwôn) unlike almost all other Pizza Huts, which are under direct control of the main office. Chamkkan, it's the woman who is the shop head (chômjang 店長); the man goes to a "kind of phone marketing company" and helps his wife to run the restaurant. It'd be interesting to know how the woman and the man are addressed by the not-so-intimate people around them; the woman is the actual sajang (社長), but that term used very very rarely towards women.
“대학교 진학을 포기하고 배달을 다닐 때는 마음이 아픈 일이 많았어요. 배달을 가보니 대학교에 다니는 친구의 집이었다는지 하는 일이죠. 또 당시에는 남자가 앞치마 비슷한 것을 입고 식당에서 움직이는 것 자체가 창피했던 때입니다.”(홍씨)
“지금은 안 팔지만 90년대 초에는 매장에서 피자와 함께 맥주도 팔았거든요. 어머니가 엄청나게 반대를 하셨어요. 대학도 안가더니 술 파는 데서 일한다고 말이죠.”(주씨)

• The first in the series: "My goal is to make 150 billion W a year"; Ms Kang, the youngest branch shop keeper of Outback Steakhouse. The writer notes that if someone asks to meet the sajangnim, he might be surprised that the person who appears is a woman with a "sesame leaf" hairstyle and peculiar eyeglasses:
아웃백스테이크 서울대점에 가서 “사장님 뵈려고 왔습니다”라고 말하면, 이른바 ‘깻잎머리’로 불리는 헤어 스타일에, 왼쪽 렌즈는 아래위로 긴 타원형이고 오른쪽은 옆으로 긴 타원형인 안경을 쓴 여자 직원이 나타난다. ‘사장님 보자니까 왜 이 사람이 나왔나’라고 생각하면서 약간 멈칫할 수도 있다.



Back from the conference-vacation trip to Göteborg in Sweden, and back to dissertation writing more diligently than ever, and to some blogging at the side. These notes will get shorter and most likely a bit scarcier, as I will also have a class to teach this term.

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