Monday, March 12, 2007

Chris Yeo may expand to Vegas, once had three struggling businesses, aspires to be like Kimpton

I profiled Chris Yeo of Straits (free link) in Friday's Business Times, and if you can't write an interesting profile of this guy you don't belong in journalism.

The story writes itself: After training at Vidal Sassoon in London, Singaporean hairdresser immigrates to the U.S. He starts a successful hair salon by lying to his landlord and working long hours. Parlays his haircutting profits and clients into a restaurant serving his native cuisine. Signs the restaurant lease as his wife is in labor.

The restaurant is failing, so he gambles on a move to a larger space. Then he gambles on a nightclub. Nightclub tanks, but luckily the restaurant takes off.

The restaurant becomes two, then three, then four, now five, with a deal "95 percent" likely in Las Vegas and expansion to Southern California and Seattle on the horizon.

Oh, and it's a total cash machine, with low food costs and high drinks tabs.

I hope I did Chris some justice.

Full story, including some hard revenue numbers:

A long Strait journey / Restaurateur Chris Yeo's story (free link)

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