Bảo Hoa, Minh Phương & Việt Thắng
Keeping customers happy so they come back for more is essential to every service business.
With that in mind, one food shop owner in Hà Nội has found a unique way to add a fun touch to his delivery service.
Nguyễn Thanh Thế, owner of a phở bò (beef noodle soup) shop on Trần Tế Xương Street, hand-delivers meals to his customers. Instead of walking or using a bicycle, however, he uses a hoverboard.
“The service industry always requires sellers to try and be creative to provide customers with the best service,” Thế said. “So I decided to use this hoverboard to deliver phở to my customers.”
Thế’s family business was opened by his parents more than 30 years ago.
But due to the limited space inside, customers often sit on the pavement outside the shop or at cafes nearby.
Using the hoverboard to deliver the meals is his way of keeping them clean and presentable.
Shop owner Nguyễn Thanh Thế rides a hoverboard to deliver beef noodle to his neighbouring customers. VNS Photos Minh Phương
Bowls of noodle soup or mixed noodle salad are placed on a tin tray with chopsticks, spoons, and spices such as chilli sauce, sliced fresh chillies and limes.
Thế holds the tray in front of him or places it on his head, and somehow manages to balance himself on the hoverboard without dropping the tray.
"The unusual delivery service aims to preserve the noodles' quality and keep my regulars happy," Thế said.
“Sales is part of the service industry so I always try to find the best way to serve my customers, and I think using the hoverboard is the most convenient way for me to make phở deliveries."
“I can deliver hot bowls of phở and keep their delicious taste, and my customers don't have to use any paper and plastic bags and bowls.”
Bowls of mixed noodles are placed in a tin tray, which Thế would bring to his customers on his hoverboard.
“Every time when I make a delivery on my hoverboard to a family that has children, the children love it. The adults are also happy, and sometimes they come out and try to learn to ride the board with me.”
Thế’s regulars and residents living near the intersection between Trần Tế Xương and Nguyễn Khắc Biểu streets have become used to seeing him on the vehicle. They seem to enjoy the deliveries.
Vũ Sơn Tùng from Hoàn Kiếm District said: “It is quite funny. I see him delivering phở all the time on an electronic vehicle. I don’t even know what to call it. Sometimes he even puts the tray on his head while riding. It's so funny!”
Robert Ackley from the US has a friend that lives near Thế’s shop.
“I used to see 'anh béo' (big brother) riding his scooter around,” he said. “And it’s really fun and it makes me feel like I want to come here more. I enjoy seeing it.”
Like many other service businesses, Thế’s shop has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially when the number of new patients in Hà Nội rose at the end of May and prompted the authorities to close all eateries and other non-essential businesses.
“All restaurants and shops – no matter what the services on offer, were severely affected by the pandemic, including mine,” Thế said. “I had to take a long break and reopen it for take-away only.
“My revenue was reduced by half compared to normal days. However, I still felt lucky that I still had customers and was able to provide for my staff, who couldn’t return to their hometowns because of the pandemic.”
As a travel enthusiast, making deliveries on the hoverboard feeds Thế’s love of being on the move.
As a travel enthusiast, making deliveries on the hoverboard feeds Thế's love of being on the move.
“It’s something special about my shop and it gives me a passion to keep doing what I do,” he said. “I don’t earn much profit from this job, but the things that remain with me are my customers’ smiles when they come and talk to me, and their satisfaction when enjoying something I make.
“And I think not only me but everyone who runs a business would find happiness in those things. Because to a businessperson, it’s not necessarily all about making money, but establishing a personal brand and values is the most important thing. That is something that I think services in Hà Nội are lacking.” VNS