The recipe for success
Hong Kong is a hub for events and a city full of foodies. With endless dining options, it can be hard to filter through the masses to find quality food, particularly for a catered event. That’s why we decided to get up close and personal with the founder of Gingers, one of Hong Kong’s best catering companies. Consistently serving up delicious food, Gingers has become the go-to catering company in the city, building up a loyal following. Liz Seaton, the founder, started Gingers an amazing 15 years ago here in Hong Kong (which is basically a lifetime in the F&B industry!), so she certainly knows a thing or two about how to maintain a successful business.
We chat to Liz about how she started Gingers, what has made the company last and what her favourite bars and restos are in Hong Kong.
Tell us about your career – how and why did you start Gingers?
I was a chef in a law firm and in my spare time I catered small dinners and cocktail parties for my friends’ bosses! I was working seven days a week and around 12- 16 hours per day. I figured I should launch something that wasn’t just me, so that eventually I could move forward and at least have a life! I was walking up the peak one morning, walked back down pass Oaklands Path and saw a Dai Pai Dong for rent… the rest is history!
Gingers has been going strong in Hong Kong for 15 years, something that many F&B businesses struggle to do. What has been the key to your success and how have you maintained the business for so long?
We work very hard to make sure we are very detailed when making arrangements with clients to try to avoid any mishaps! We have been consistent over the past 15 years which is huge. Our clients say that they feel very comfortable when arranging a party with Gingers as they don’t need to worry.
What are Gingers’ greatest strengths?
Our staff, we are a big family. Two of our staff have been here since the start with others being with us for many years. This is our biggest strength and our best asset.
How do you instil the brand’s values into your team members?
I pride myself on thinking each party is like my own, and I imagine what it would be like if I was attending the party. I think that I have instilled this way of thinking to my staff, which means they ask more questions and make sure that the client has thought of everything that is needed to have a fabulous party or event.
What have been your biggest challenges in your career and how have you overcome them?
My biggest challenge is trying to let go and allow my staff to do their jobs, which they do very well.
What inspires your catering menu and what are your favourite things that you make/serve?
I get inspiration from lots of different vehicles. I search other caterers around the world to see what they are doing. I love eating out and am always looking for inspiration while eating. Grazing around food markets around the world is brilliant, so many flavours and ideas.
Canapés are my favourite thing. I love to create little bites of fabulous morsels both savoury and sweet.
What are some of your most memorable events and why?
We have many!
We catered the 30th anniversary party of CIS which was 80s theme. The party was for 700 people and spread over two locations within the school. We passed around canapés in one place and had food stations in another. We had created lots of new items for this event and our staff were working in classrooms which took them back!
More recently we catered a high brand office furniture company for their new office space. It was a wine pairing and each of the 12 wines had two or three canapés paired with them, each served on fabulous office desks. It was a great event.
What are your favourite restaurants and bars in Hong Kong at the moment?
Oh there are too many to narrow down! However, Comptoir in Kennedy Town is my go to place, and I also love Maison Libanaise in Soho. I’m more of a simple comfort food eater but when I’m searching for ideas I love to eat in Caprice, Roubochon, Amber, Petrus… the list goes on!
For great cocktails and drinks, Café Gray Deluxe at the Upper House as well as Wooloomoloo in Wan Chai, both have amazing views of Hong Kong.
Where do you see yourself and the business in 5 years – what are your hopes and dreams for Gingers?
Just focusing on maintaining our standards, keeping up with trends and holding onto our great staff for as long as we can!
Any advice for aspiring food entrepreneurs in Hong Kong?
Keep focused on your initial goals.