The 1-2-3 Strategy to Expand Business Amid Trough
As local infection starts to put under control, the catering and retail owners are seeing hope for the future. While most businesses are treading carefully in the market, Imperial Patisserie, a pastry brand of 3 years+ history, has been progressively expanding in the past 6 months, with plans to open 8 additional retail stores this year to increase market share. “Expansion and active promotion when the economy is good usually incite keen competition and fail to produce the ideal results,” said Dr. Martin Yim, Chairman and CEO of Imperial Enterprises Holdings Ltd. “Opening new stores in uncertain times is relatively affordable, and create better publicity too.”
“Pastry is not a necessity for most people, and I believe consumers regard ‘convenience to shop’ as a key consideration for buying our products, that’s why our current 12 stores are all located at the most convenient spots in Hong Kong, for example Citygate in Tung Chung, New Town Plaza in Shatin, or Lyndhurst Terrace in Central.”
Single-minded Focus on Chinese Pastry Inheritance
Crowned as the hero product, the company’s Mooncake has been granted the Grand Gold honour by Monde Selection, an institute renowned for evaluating the quality of the culinary all over the world. Among which the most popular type is mooncake, which was the masterpiece by Chef Yip Wing Wah, the custard mooncake creator. Different flavours have been introduced since then, like custard, sesame, ginger, durian, for the youth market.
“The sales volume of mooncake has spiked 400% in 2020, and in this Chinese New Year, our pastry orders rose 3.5 times over the lastyear.” Dr. Yim highlighted the results. “At the beginning, we spent some HKD1,500 million to build a large-scale pastry factory in Hong Kong. I believe it is our single-minded passion to the Chinese pastry inheritance and authentic 100% Made in Hong Kong experience that have won the customer over in such a short period of time, turningthem into our fans.”
Mostly handmade, Imperial Patisserie is committed to culinary craftsmanship and perfection that bridges Chinese heritage and creative presence. Take crispy cookies for example, which use French natural butter instead of lard and infuse it with the texture of Chinese walnut crisp, it results in a healthier and crispier delicacy. While eggrolls and palmiers usually top the sales chart in terms of pastry, crispy cookies have gauged a lot of repeat purchase too.
Dual-Channel for Business Development
Online shopping experienced exponential growth amid the pandemic. Imperial Patisserie has taken a dual-pronged approach to embrace integrated marketing for both online and offline channels. “Our online sales have seen a big jump, taking up 15% of our sales volume, compared to 4-5% before the COVID-19. With the growing number of retail shops, we expect the growth rate will be similar across the online / offline channels”
Joined as GS1 HK member in mid-2018, printing GS1 barcodes on products not only support their operations like check-out, stock delivery and stock-take, but also enable products get listed on major e-commerce platforms easily, enhancing search results, and boosting marketing outcomes through bridging the physical anddigital worlds. The company also leverages GS1 Hong Kong’s BARzaar for free to promote their products and reach out to a potential of 8,000+ corporate member community that covers staff and their friends, unlocking extensive sales opportunities.
“e-Shop and retail store are two entirely different shopping experiences, and the customers are different too, so we have tailor-made strategies to cater to their varying needs. A majority of target customers feel safer and more comfortable to see and touch products first-hand in stores, where our staff would provide caring services (like food tasting before the COVID-19) that warrant a satisfying experience.”
Three Promises to Care for Staff
The company pledges to 3 “NOs” policies during this difficult time: No layoffs, No salary cut, No forced unpaid leave. “I believe in the old saying ‘Happy employees create happy customers’. In addition to the 3 promises, our master chef offers coaching about our company’s philosophy and techniques for the junior staff on a regular basis, helpingour staff to grow.”
Championing quality, Caring for staff, Consumer centric and Conforming to commitment are the factors that Imperial
Patisserie being recognised as Consumer Caring Company by GS1 Hong Kong. The Award helps remind the recognised
companies to put consumers and employees at the centre of what they do, and make continuous improvement to stay competitive in the market. Stepped into the 10th edition of the Scheme, over 150 local enterprises have been recognised as “Consumer Caring Company”.
Tripartite Advantages for “Hong Kong Brands”
A “489” barcode prefix means the product is operated by a Hong Kong-registered company, which enables consumer to identify products from Hong Kong and other region with naked eyes. As a player for “Made in Hong Kong” products, Dr. Yim considers this title still bears business potentials, because Hong Kong performs remarkably well in food safety, quality and image.
“First, there are stringent regulations and top-rated facilities for Hong Kong food factory, so buyers have a high faith for local products. Second, the consumers in Hong Kong are sophisticated, so merchants tend to use quality materials or
sources for premium food items. Lastly, Hong Kong is a free trade port for many tax-free imports and exports, that benefits the development of local manufacturers too.”