Hong Kong’s first Hooters is already causing controversy

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FoodBeast/Next Shark (by Ryan General):

American restaurant chain Hooters, known for its skimpily dressed female servers is about to open its first restaurant in Hong Kong. A month before its launch, however, the sports bar that bills itself as “delightfully tacky yet unrefined” is already attracting controversy.

Set to occupy a prime location in Hong Kong’s Central district along Wyndham Street, Hooters Hong Kong will be just one of the 30 branches that Bangkok-based Destinations Resorts will be bringing to Asia on behalf of Hooters Asia.

While preparations are all well under way for the Hong Kong opening, Hooters Asia general manager Mike Warde is also fending off criticisms about the company’s image and hiring processes.

We’re a sports bar, a family-oriented, fun-loving, entertainment outlet. We have standards for our service and food,” Warde told South China Morning Post in an interview.

For Warde, the Hooters girls who he calls the chain’s “brand ambassadors” are not dressed provocatively but are simply wearing sportswear. He also denied that breast size is a factor in the company’s recruitment.

That’s a myth. That was 30 years ago,” he said while showing a photograph of Thai Hooters girls with small breasts. “The reason they don’t look flat chested is because they are wearing Wonderbras.”

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A friend of one Hong Kong applicant, however is refuting his claim. Scarlet (not her real name), an applicant herself, said her friend who applied didn’t pass because of her breast size.

Her boobs are smaller, so of course they won’t hire her,” she said.

The recruitment process has been going on for months and so far 12 Hong Kong women, one Japanese woman and two European women are being considered for the job.

Aside from normal food-serving tasks, Hooter girls are also expected to perform two-minute dance numbers at certain intervals.

They stop whatever they are doing, wherever they are, and dance every 45 minutes,” says Warde. “In Thailand guests pay them to do hula hoop and the money goes to charity. We have pom-poms and we take them to the rugby pitch to support teams.

To stay in shape, they are also required to attend three kickboxing classes per week.

We teach the girls to be a lot more respectful of themselves, have more confidence in themselves. They have a fit body and fit mind and we bring out their characters because we put them all over social media,” he added.

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They said, ‘This is the largest size’ – I think that was true. But it’s crazy that the largest size is extra small. My boobs were exploding and my ass was half showing out,” the 24-year-old said.

When I went for the uniform fitting they said I’m the only girl with boobs. They want to hire locals, but most local girls are really skinny.”

Scarlet also found the salary disappointing and realized she could earn more as a beauty therapist. The HK$15,000 ($1,932) per month offered for a five-and-a-half-day week is barely above standard.

They said I would get good tips, but in Hong Kong I don’t think the guys would pay a lot. There isn’t the tipping culture here,” Scarlet said.

Back in the U.S., the company has closed about a dozen stores in recent years, with observers saying the concept of “breastaurants” is outdated.

Warde believes that it will be a different story in Asia. “In Asia we are a new brand. And in America they’ve been closing the ones that haven’t been performing and reopening others. Over the last four years it’s growing, they are on the up again,”he said.

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In the next five years, the aggressive expansion plan of Hooters Asia will also see restaurants opening in Indonesia, Thailand, Macau, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Myanmar, Vietnam and Malaysia.

First Carl’s Jr. opens in Tokyo’s Akihabara district, massive line-up ensues


RocketNews 24/Business Wire:

CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. (CKE), parent company of Carl’s Jr.® and Hardee’s®, continues its impressive international growth with the opening of its first Carl’s Jr. restaurant in Japan.

Perhaps influenced by the weak footing of McDonald’s last year, it seems a steady stream of US franchises such as Taco Bell and Shake Shack have been crossing the Pacific and setting up shop in Tokyo. On 4 March, it was to be major burger chain Carl’s Jr. coming the otaku mecca of Akihabara.

This marks the first of a multi-unit development agreement between CKE and Mitsuuroko Group Holdings Co., Ltd. to develop 150 Carl’s Jr. restaurants in Japan over the next 10 years. As part of the development deal, Carl’s Jr. restaurants also are scheduled to open in Azabujyuban, Odaiba, Shibuya and Roppongi.

“Japan is the largest burger market in Asia and Japanese consumers are well known for their passionate enthusiasm for quality, great tasting food. The Carl’s Jr. brand and menu are perfectly positioned for Japan as we offer bigger, better tasting, chargrilled burgers served with high quality, fresh ingredients and best-in-class customer service,” said Ned Lyerly, President, International at CKE. “We partnered with the Mitsuuroko Group as our Master Franchisee in Japan to establish our brand across the country and we are confident in our collective ability to deliver to a superior level of guest satisfaction in our restaurants.”

“Carl’s Jr. fills a major void in the Japanese burger market. There’s no other global burger chain that offers such premium and innovative menu items served with industry leading customer service. What’s more is the brand exudes a cool, youthful and edgy persona that will resonate with Japan’s burger lovers of all ages,” said Mr. Kohei Tajima, the CEO of MGHD. “We are honored to open the first Carl’s Jr. in Japan and look forward to elevating the brand’s presence in the market over the next decade.”

Open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., the Carl’s Jr. restaurant in Akihabara will offer innovative breakfast, lunch and dinner menu items including the brand’s signature line of 100% Angus Beef Thickburgers, such as the Western Bacon Cheeseburger and Jalapeno Thickburger, along with Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders and Hand-Scooped Ice Cream Shakes. The restaurant will also offer complimentary Wi-Fi, a refillable beverage bar and draft beer.

To celebrate the arrival of Carl’s Jr. in Japan, the restaurant will give away “A Year’s Worth of Free Burgers” to the first 50 people through the door on opening day. This popular promotion is well-loved by fans around the world with some of them lining up days before the restaurant opens.

Key facts about Carl’s Jr. in Akihabara

  • Address: 4-4-3, Sotokanda Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
  • Hours of operation: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily; breakfast hours: 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. daily
  • Menu features:
    • Carl’s Jr.’s signature line of 100 percent Angus Beef Thickburgers®
    • High-quality, all-white-meat Chargrilled and Hand-Breaded Chicken
    • Hand-Scooped Ice Cream Shakes™
    • Refillable beverage bar
  • Special amenities:
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi

A really good reason why Asians never wear shoes in the house

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Next Shark:

Individuals who have ever stepped foot inside an Asian household probably know that shoes are not allowed.

Shoes are typically removed before entering homes for hygienic reasons — the amount of dirt and bacteria found on them are shockingly disgusting.

Approximately 421,000 different types of bacteria can be found on shoes, according to a 2008 study by the University of Arizona. Of the shoes examined in the study, 96% of them were found to have coliforms, a bacterial indicator of the level of sanitation of foods and water that is also universally found in feces of humans and warm-blooded animals.

In addition, 27% of the shoes were found to have E. coli along with seven different kinds of bacterias. Among them are Klebsiella pneumoniae, a bacteria that causes urinary tract infections, and Serratia ficaria, a bacteria that causes respiratory infections.

Study author Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, explained:

“The common occurrence (96%) of coliform and E. coli bacteria on the outside of the shoes indicates frequent contact with fecal material, which most likely originates from floors in public restrooms or contact with animal fecal material outdoors. Our study also indicated that bacteria can be tracked by shoes over a long distance into your home or personal space after the shoes were contaminated with bacteria.”

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Bringing shoes into the house leads to a 90-99% chance of transfer of bacteria from dirty shoes to uncontaminated home floors.

If that doesn’t gross you out then this might: public restroom floors have an estimated 2 million bacteria per square inch. However, an average toilet seat has about 50 per square inch.

Kelly Reynolds, microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona, said:

“We walk through things like bird droppings, dog waste and germs on public restroom floors, all of which are sources for E. coli.

“Think about rain water in the street. It can have gasoline in it and chemicals, and those get on your shoes and can be brought into your home.”

Though with toxins and chemicals, repeat exposure during a lifetime will lead to health related illness.

If that doesn’t convince people to take off their shoes before going inside their house then perhaps washing shoes regularly with detergent will help. The University of Arizona study found that cleaning shoes in the washing machine will kill the presence of bacteria by at least 90%. Floors and carpets should also be disinfected with carpet cleaners such as a steam cleaner.

The best way though, is to keep those shoes out of the house!

 

Asia Society art exhibition: “Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan”

Nyoirin Kannon. Kamakura period, early 14th century. Japanese cypress (hinoki) with pigment, gold powder, and cut gold leaf (kirikane). H. 19 1/2 x W. 15 x D. 12 in. (49.5 x 38.1 x 30.5 cm). Asia Society, New York: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Asia Society/Wall Street Journal:

Last week, the Wall Street Journal featured Asia Society‘s upcoming Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan exhibition as one of several ways to “travel the world” and absorb international culture without ever leaving New York:

This exhibition links artistic style to spiritual practice. As religious trends of the time brought worshipers closer to their deities, sculptors pursued innovations in woodwork, carving expressive, humanlike forms that were intended to “come alive” during public ritual and private devotion. The show features a stellar lineup of figures, mostly carved in cypress and adorned with gilding and lacquer. Look for the miniature Buddha figures and sutra text, fascinating examples of tiny items that artists left embedded in hollow spaces to empower their figures from within.

The Kamakura exhibition begins on February 9 and goes through May 8.

Click here for more information about the exhibit.

Disney to open first mainland China resort in Shanghai in June

Image: Shanghai Disney Resort

NBC News:

China‘s very own Happiest Place on Earth will be enchanting visitors as soon as this summer.

The Shanghai Disney Resort is slated to throw open the doors of its Magic Kingdom on June 16, becoming the first Disney destination on mainland China and the third in Asia following Tokyo Disneyland‘s debut in 1983 and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort opening in 2005.

The estimated $5.5 billion resort is a joint venture between Disney and Shanghai Shendi Group, a state-owned enterprise that is holding 57 percent of the project.

The resort reflects Disney’s legendary storytelling along with China’s rich culture, and showcases some of the most creative and innovative experiences we’ve ever created,” Disney CEO Robert Iger said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to showing it to the world and sharing it with the people of China for generations to come.”

Disney is hoping to capitalize on China’s massive economic growth in recent years, although forecasts this year have sent the world’s second-largest economy into a tailspin.

The new resort broke ground in 2011 and will encompass more than 960 acres. It will include an Enchanted Storybook Castle, being billed as the largest, most technologically advanced of Disney’s fabled castles.

The park will also be home to different themes, and include Marvel and Star Wars characters owned as part of Disney’s other properties.

Asians are projected to become the largest immigrant group in the U.S. by 2065

 

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NBC Asia America (by Suzanne Gamboa):

Today, the U.S. has one-in-five of the world’s immigrants, the most of any country. Pew projected that if immigration trends continue as they are, by 2065, the U.S. will have 78 million immigrants. However, it also notes that immigration has slowed from some parts of the world, in particular Mexico, that have been significant sources of Latino immigration.

Even so, future immigrants and their descendants will continue to be a source of the nation’s population growth. They are estimated to account for 88 percent of the U.S. population increase, or 103 million of the increase of the U.S. population to 441 million, Pew reported.

Between 1965 and 2015, new immigrants, their children and their grandchildren added 72 million people to the nation’s population, which grew from 193 million in 1965 to 324 million in 2015.

Latinos’ presence as this country’s largest minority group – an estimated 54 million – can be traced in large part to the 1965 law and its shift on the origin of immigrants to the U.S.

Latinos as a share of the U.S. population rose from 4 percent in 1965 to 18 percent in 2015. According to Pew’s analysis, without the 1965 law, the nation’s racial and ethnic composition would be 75 percent white, 14 percent black, 8 percent Hispanic and less than 1 percent Asian.

Half of immigrants, 51 percent, who arrived since 1965 are from Latin America and a quarter are from Asia.

By 2055, no racial or ethnic group will be the majority population in the U.S. By 2065, Hispanics will be 24 percent of the population and Asians, 14 percent.

Pew projects that the country will see another shift in the country’s racial and ethnic makeup in another 50 years because of the slowdown of immigration from Latin America, particularly Mexico. Immigration from Mexico is at the lowest it’s been in half a century, Pew said.

The next group to emerge will be Asian immigrants, whose share of the immigrant population is expected to be the largest by 2055 and 38 percent of the foreign-born population by 2065.

What proper table etiquette looks like in East and Southeast Asia…

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Mashable (by Chelsea Frisbie):

Whether you’re planning an international trip or you’re headed to a local cultural experience, it’s important to learn about the eating habits of the folks you’ll be dining with. What might seem silly to you could be incredibly important to someone else, so don’t judge.

Langford’s silverware shop has compiled a collection of the dining “Do’s” and “Don’ts”…

Here is an excerpt of East Asian and Southeast Asian countries’ dining etiquette.

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Want to study abroad in Japan but short on funds? The Freeman-ASIA program might be able to help!

freeman

RocketNews 24 (by Preston Phro):

Scholarships for US students studying abroad ensure more people get chance to experience learning in Asia.

College is a time for experimentation, exploration, and adventure. Also, maybe a little bit of learning, too, if you feel like getting really crazy! Of course, there’s no better way to have an adventure than spending a semester or two abroad—especially if you haven’t done much international travel yet.

However, one of the hallmarks of student life is living on a meager (or non-existent) income, so getting that study abroad experience can end up costing more than is practical or even possible.

IIE announced this week that the Freeman-ASIA scholarship is being relaunched and students can begin applying for summer, single semester, or even academic year awards starting February first. The money awarded will average US$3,000 for a summer program, $5,000 for a single semester, and $7,000 for a full academic year—which probably won’t be all the money you need but will definitely help put a huge dent in the cost of any program you enroll in.

Here’s the website.

The Chinese have a way of messaging that’s way better and safer than texting

Commuters use smartphone

Next Shark:

The Chinese have been messaging each other in a way that almost puts texting to shame given how many accidents we’ve had from walking while texting or the often fatal driving while texting.

Rather than glue their eyes and attention to the screen for those crucial moments while they type, most Chinese people use voice messaging.

No, it’s not at all a new way of communicating, but voice messaging is now the norm on WeChat, the messaging app with over 500 million monthly users, according to Quartz.

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Push-to-talk messaging’s growth in Asia is widely attributed to the difficulty of typing in Chinese. Vocally messaging people is just simpler and more personal, but also loud.

Specifically in China, the custom is more widely accepted than in other Chinese-speaking countries like Taiwan, where loud voice messaging in public would be frowned upon for being rude.

Thomas Luo, the founder of the leading Chinese tech blog Pingwest, told Quartz:

Chinese and Taiwanese express themselves very differently. For me, I always speak loudly, even in my office. But Taiwanese people are more quiet.”

Like any culture, the Chinese adhere to specific formalities in communication that might otherwise be unacceptable elsewhere. In the digital age, voice messaging found its popularity from the internet cafe culture of the mid-2000s when gamers sent voice messages rather then texts. When mobile was introduced, those habits carried on.

Luo also attributed voice messaging habits to educational backgrounds:

People that aren’t very well-educated will use voice messages no matter what, whether the sentences are long or only one second. But middle-class or well-educated people will send voice messages if they want to say something that is informal but also complicated. If it’s simple, they’ll just type.”

Would voice messaging in public be acceptable in a country like the U.S. where talking loudly on your phone in public isn’t that all unheard of? Maybe not in public, but it’s definitely the safer alternative when you are driving in the privacy of your car.

Every major player in Silicon Valley, from Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg, has been going to this Chinese restaurant

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Next Shark (by Melly Lee):

Silicon Valley is known for a multitude of landmarks, including the garages Apple and Google were started in, the Facebook campus, and the IBM Almaden Research Lab. The one landmark, however, that perhaps garners the most universal praise from the best and the brightest of the area is Chinese restaurant Chef Chu’s.
MellyLee-ChefChu-001Started by Lawrence Chu in 1970, Chef Chu’s has been the go-to place for the Bay Area’s tech elite, celebrities and politicians. Tennis superstar Serena Williams, platinum-selling artist Justin Bieber and former Intel CEO Craig Barrett have all frequented Chu’s establishment. The late Apple founder Steve Jobs also used to be a regular before he became a recognizable tech titan.

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He’d come in here as a nobody,” Chu told Mercury News in a 2012 interview. “He’d wait 45 minutes to get a table and all of a sudden he’s on the cover of Time Magazine. I was busy making a living. I didn’t know who he was.”

In the mid-1980s, when then Secretary of State George Shultz needed to hold an emergency meeting with other high-ranking officials in the Reagan administration, he held it at Chef Chu’s.

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Even though he’s been in business for 45 years, the 72-year-old Chu still goes to work with seemingly the same passion and drive he started with. He’s frequently in the kitchen helping the staff and tries greeting every single customer that walks through the door.

Silicon Valley futurist Paul Saffo once said: “No restaurant has had the longevity of Chef Chu’s for either quality of the food or popularity with the valley’s movers and shakers. It’s as vibrant and lively as it’s ever been.”

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Most recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has become a regular at Chef Chu’s. Chu tells NextShark: “Mark Zuckerberg comes in here all the time. Him and his wife Priscilla came here last Sunday. Their parents too, they moved from the East Coast.”
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Even with all the celebrity attention, Chef Chu believes in one core philosophy when treating customers: “Whoever comes in here, we should treat them the same. For a simple reason: they all pay the same price. Whether they’re an engineer, doctor, governor.

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Aside from his restaurant, Chu has published three cookbooks, started a catering business, and created his own cooking classes.

His first job was as a busboy at Trader Vic’s, a Polynesian restaurant in San Francisco.

He recounts: “In the restaurant, we worked so hard and I found out that I loved restaurants. It’s very famous as well. I was there; I met all celebrities there. I was a busboy, waiter, bartender. Then I told myself, one day I want to do something like this. Maybe not a busboy, but I want to do something of my own.
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At the time, he was trying to woo his future wife, Ruth Ho, who was then a PhD student at Stanford University. He’d often joke to her that he was also a PhD: poor, hungry and determined. Chu successfully wooed not only his future wife, but also his future father-in-law, who was a successful entrepreneur.

I told the father that I had a dream. I said I want to open fast food Chinese restaurants in America. The father liked me. They all liked me in a sense, but they never asked my education. They only said, ‘This guy is 25 years old and has a dream.’

MellyLee-ChefChu-012It was in 1970 that Chu decided to follow through on his dream of starting his own restaurant, opening his first fast-food Chinese restaurant in a space that used to be a small laundromat between a beauty salon and appliance repair shop.

Six months later, he took over the beauty salon’s space in order to expand his venture into a sit-down restaurant. Three years after that, with money he saved over the years and from an investment from his father-in-law, Chu purchased the entire complex and completely renovated his restaurant, including the installation of a state-of-the-art kitchen.

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Although by then a successful restaurateur, Chu wanted to be a chef and worked tirelessly to learn from the chefs he hired at his restaurant, perfecting his culinary skill through practice and trial and error.

I worked my butt off. I collapsed in my bed every day. I cooked for 20 years in the kitchen.”

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After his father’s restaurant was closed down by the health department, Chu went to college for two semesters to learn how to properly run a restaurant in order to make sure the same fate wouldn’t befall his own restaurant. To this day, Chu takes cleanliness and hygiene at his restaurant as one of his top priorities.

Personal hygiene is very important. That’s 24 hours every second, every minute of the job. When you decorate the plate, everything on the plate should be edible. You cannot just put a flower there because it looks good. Everything on the plate should be edible.”
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Initially, Chu wanted to open a chain of Chinese restaurants all over the country but he eventually decided to just focus on one. At 72, he’s still learning and regularly travels to Asia to discover new culinary secrets.

People always ask me why I have only one restaurant. ‘Why do you work at 72? Why don’t you hire people and open two or three restaurants?’ The type of restaurant that I run is totally different than the type of restaurant that you run. It takes a lot of hard work but ultimately you must be a leader.

You have to have a great team behind you. For them, it is just another job. For me, it is my life. Most people work for me 20 to 30 years and retire. Why? They knew that they could trust me and that I would not let them down and that I was passionate. You have to demonstrate that you are a true leader.

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Chu is not the only successful person in his family. His middle son, Jon M. Chu, is a successful director who has helmed films like “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” and “Step Up 2: The Street.” His other son, Larry Chu Jr., has joined his father in the kitchen and plans to take over the restaurant someday.

Since Larry joined me [it has] allowed me to cut about 50% of the worry.

Most people [say], ‘Chef Chu, you should retire. You have all the money in the world.’ I’m coming here [because] I’m proud of what I do. I’m making history. I believe my philosophy, my method. I trust my instinct. I trust my burning desire that we put 100 percent in the business and don’t stop improving. I don’t say change for the sake of change. Don’t stop advancing. Don’t stop because the world is running, the world is changing.

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