Update: 16:07 | 21/08/2022
Lily Hoa Nguyen, founder of UAE restaurant chain Vietnamese Foodies, opened her fifth outlet and wants to expand throughout the emirates.
Speaking at the opening at Dubai Hills Mall on August 15, she said it was an opportunity to "get closer to realizing the vision of introducing fresh and delicious Vietnamese cuisine to all over the UAE".
Lily Hoa Nguyen at her Vietnamese Foodies restaurant at Nakheel Mall.
She expressed gratitude to "food lovers across the UAE and the region" for helping the restaurant chain grow steadily, according to Caterer Middle East.
The new restaurant, with 60 covers, serves dozens of dishes including pho, banh mi (Vietnamese baguette), stir-fries, and noodles.
It is the chain’s first restaurant to serve takeaway coffee and ice cream.
The dream of building a Vietnamese restaurant "empire" in the UAE first came to her four years ago when she founded the Vietnamese Foodies brand and opened a small restaurant at the Nakheel shopping center.
She then opened outlets at the Burj Vista Building and Time Out Market in Dubai.
She said: "In the past three years, since the opening of our branch in Burj Vista, we have evolved into a casual dining spot for Vietnamese food lovers, instead of a luxury restaurant. This is in line with our strategy. Our goal is to improve the dining experience of our customers while keeping our commitment to serving fresh, traditional Vietnamese food across Dubai."
She grew up in Ho Chi Minh City in a family of six children and started learning to cook at the age of five.
She is also executive chef of her chain.
In an interview with Entrepreneur magazine in March, she said when she was young her job was to cook for her big family of 20-30 people. To handle it, she had to call other family members for support.
"I think that experience has taught me that working harmoniously as a team is so important in running a kitchen and a business. It is difficult, or even impossible, to use power to force people to do what you want. You need to inspire them to achieve a common goal. Only when you do this can you lead a team."