José Cuaik
Ceo
Grupo Hunan
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View from the Top

Using Food to Create Experiences

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 16:45

Q: Grupo Hunan has increased its gastronomic offer to 19 restaurants in less than 25 years. What strategies have contributed to this growth?
A: We opened Hunan, our first fine-dining restaurant, in 1993 and it continues to register better numbers every month. Though we started in 1993, the bulk of our growth began in 2009. An impressive number of developers have contacted us to give preference to Grupo Hunan restaurants. In this industry, location is extremely important. Our commitment is to have the best locations, providing our customers with easy accessibility. Though we are proud of our growth, we do not rule out inorganic growth from an acquisition; it is something we are considering.
Q: What is Grupo Hunan’s value proposition for the Mexican gastronomy scene?
A: In the last 10 years, Mexico City has radically transformed its gastronomy industry and competition in the fine-dining and casual-dining segment has increased substantially. We are an industry in full swing but with a level of maturity that allows Mexico City to easily compete with New York, Berlin, Paris or London. We believe that the gastronomy niche has significant growth potential. As of today, in Mexico City we have 19 business units and we have a pipeline of six new openings in the next 24 months: five in Mexico City and one in Cabo San Lucas, which is a very attractive market. We believe that it is worth exploiting a second level of Grupo Hunan in Cabo San Lucas.
Q: Grupo Hunan is characterized by its high-end offer. What are your plans to expand your offer and attract a larger consumer base?
A: What we do best is attend the fine-dining segment. We used to have a fast-food segment but we are in the process of liquidating it. The fast-food business is an interesting model but it is a volume business and it takes the same amount of time as a larger restaurant. If an opportunity of a great brand came to us we would definitely consider it.
Q: What advantages does Grupo Hunan offer to brands such as Mr. Chow and Nobu?
A: If I had to describe our relationship in three words, they would be: trust, credibility and reputation. Grupo Hunan’s credibility is the result of hard work and that has been rewarded by our customers. Reputation is also extremely important, since it is basically all we have; if we fail one of our partners, the next will not trust us. We are good partners, good business people and we continuously invest in Mexico.
Q: Glisco Partners has invested an undisclosed sum in Grupo Hunan. What investments are you expecting to take on with Glisco Partners?
A: The investment from Glisco was the result of almost a year and half of negotiations and took almost eight months to close the deal. Glisco Partners entered the company with a capital injection and helped us establish a number of good practices to boost our operations and institutionalize a family-owned structure. The participation of Glisco Partners allows greater credibility, especially with financial institutions. Its participation in Grupo Hunan permits business diversification.
Q: How does Grupo Hunan find the balance between the sector’s need for innovation and the quality that characterizes your offer?
A: What we want is to pamper our customers. We believe that personal service is essential and we have realized that all the training we have done in customer service has yielded benefits. Our staff plays a crucial role when it comes to the development of customer loyalty. We are always looking to provide a cozy, relaxed atmosphere with friendly architecture and excellent food and service. We try to sell an all-around experience: food, service, price and quality. We do not make restaurants, we create experiences. 

Grupo Hunan is a Mexican restaurant operator that specializes in fine dining. Founded in 1993, the company has 19 restaurants in Mexico City, including international recognized brands such as Mr. Chow and Nobu