Originally from Hong Kong, Ching Man Yates (known as Carman) is a young female entrepreneur who decided to move to West Wales from Cardiff with her family and establish an Asian Fusion restaurant.
Fusion (Cardigan) is built on a modern contemporary concept and specialises in local cuisine from Hong Kong and Japan. Carman and her brother Wilson Yeung designed the brand and devised the food menu, offering a real blend of traditional family-cooked meals from Hong Kong and Japan, all using fresh, locally sourced, high quality ingredients.
Fusion (Cardigan) is the only restaurant within a 60-mile radius of Cardigan to offer this type of Asian cuisine, including freshly rolled sushi, Dim-Sum Asian treats and Japanese Katsu curries, making it an attractive offering to the local community and to visitors to the area.
Since it launched in June 2017, the business has created 6 jobs, with view to creating more in 2018.
What they did
The restaurant is located in the former Eagle Inn public house in Cardigan, which has been a traditional drinking establishment since the 18th century and was closed for the majority of 2016. Being one of the first public houses in Cardigan, the local community were really concerned that the business would not re-open and the history of the building would be lost for good.
A University of Glamorgan graduate, Carman, who has worked with youth offenders in Cardiff over the past 5 years, has always had a passion for food and decided to purchase the building and transform it into a modern, contemporary restaurant and bar, while still maintaining its internal character.
Their proudest moment in business
Alongside running Fusion (Cardigan), Carman has been a role model encouraging other Asian young women to set up their own business. She has managed this whilst also expecting her first child, moving home and setting up her own business. "It has been a very busy year for me but it has also been a real achievement, both personally and professionally. None of this would have been possible without the great support my family and I have had from the wider business community, including our Business Wales adviser, Lisa Williams." – Carman Yates
Do they use Welsh in their business? If so, how has this helped them
Fusion (Cardigan) offers a wide range of local Welsh produce, including drinks from local Cardigan-based brewery Mantle and Penderyn Whisky/Gin, bringing together a blend of international and local offering.
Their Front of House team member Rebecca is a fluent Welsh speaker, and Carman and her family have also reviewed available support from the Welsh Language Commissioner with view of translating the menus in the new year.
Describe the type of support (financial / non-financial) they’ve received from Business Wales / Welsh Government
Business Wales’ Growth Adviser Lisa Williams was able to provide really valuable start-up support to the business before it was established, including help with brand design, social media, internal signage, business planning, amongst others. She ensured that all this was aligned to ensure the business’ key messages were specific, consistent and clearly communicated to the new target audiences.
Fusion (Cardigan) also benefitted from support with recruitment, bookkeeping and paperwork management, all of which were equally as vital for the success of the new start-up.
Following the successful launch of the restaurant, Lisa is now working with Carman to develop new business concepts to further grow the brand.
Carman commented: "Initially, I came across the Business Wales website, which offers a lot of business guides with valuable industry data. I found this, and the information I received from one of Business Wales’ Client Relationship Officers really useful, giving me the confidence to start my own business. My adviser Lisa was a real support to me before I set up. We have fully implemented all her suggestions and recommendations, and we look forward to reviewing our plans with her in the near future as we look at our growth strategies for 2018 and beyond."
Here are Carman’s top tips for anyone looking to start or run their own business:
- seek support from organisations like Business Wales, they were a valued resource for us, helping us to ensure we got it right from the start
- develop a business plan with clear objectives, these need to include key dates of achievement and who is responsible for the direction
- cash-flow is crucial – ensure you plan ahead and build in a back-up fund for unexpected items
- pay attention to your marketing, engage across a wide mix of platforms, conventional to digital, ensuring you attract a wide demographic
- review, review, review! ensure you continually review what you set out to achieve and continually apply areas of stretch as you plan forward into future years, short, mid and long-term objectives are a must, but make sure to equally enjoy the experience