Neighbourhood Feature: Desmond Chen

Our Neighbourhood Feature aims to highlight successful business owners in Yaletown. This is your chance to meet the people behind the business and get to know their story.

This weeks featured member is Desmond Chen.

Name: Desmond Chen

Company: Urban Thai Bistro

Year started: 2000

Why did you start your business in Yaletown?

Back in 1999, before Yaletown was fully developed, I saw the appeal of the area, as well as the growth in population nearby. It was easy to see that it would become a trendy area and the place to be. The revitalization in the area was just beginning with various chic clothing stores and a handful of restaurants. I visualized Yaletown as an attraction for vibrant nightlife.

What is your favourite part of your job?

I love the vibe of Yaletown. Whenever I’m there, I always run into loyal customers who have been patrons of ours since our opening in 2000. As more residences are moving into Yaletown, it’s great to meet new customers who are discovering us for the first time.

I have built strong friendships with numerous other business owners and I love how all of us are so supportive of each other as we frequent each other’s businesses regularly.

Another aspect of my job that I enjoy is the tasting of new seasonal dishes created by our executive chefs. I also travel extensively internationally, and will often come back with new suggestions to add to our menu offerings.

Complete the following sentence:

“What really makes us unique is…”

Throughout the past 17 years, our team always pays careful attention to all the details by offering our customers the best quality of food and service.

Recently we renovated our space to create an atmosphere of peaceful elegance, featuring Buddha statuettes from Chiang Mai. The room is now divided into a dining area, complete with a Chef’s Table, a casual lounge and a vibrant bar area. The space is now perfect for date nights, business lunches and large parties too.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about opening their own business?

Make sure you do your research, find out what the possible roadblocks are, do your due diligence, and analyze all aspects in starting your business then growing and maintaining it. Have a realistic timeline and ensure that you are always diligent and on top of things by ensuring that all tasks are completed on time and on budget. Depending on your business, most importantly, hire the best people you can, they are the face of your business when you’re not around.


Instagram: @urbanthaiyaletown
Facebook: @urbanthaibistro
Twitter: @urbanthai
Website: Urban Thai Bistro

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