'Making profit is a side product'

Updated: 2015-04-29 08:41

By Wu Yan(chinadaily.com.cn)

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'Making profit is a side product'

Customers queue in front of the fourth N.F.T restaurant on its opening day, April 11, 2015, in downtown Beijing. [Photo/Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

"Nearly half of F.N.T's visitors come through the Internet," said Zhang. By comparison, most traditional restaurants rely heavily on a superior location to bring natural customer flow.

"The starting point of my business is selling rice noodles, and the end is brand. Customers make a connection with us when they buy the first bowl of rice noodles," Zhang said with his index finger tapping the edge of the table to emphasize his point.

In the process of running F.N.T, Zhang has organized an association "Ba Man Club", membership of which comes from his staff and customers, who are mainly Hunan locals born after 1985 and work in Beijing. "Ba Man" is Hunan dialect meaning "stubborn" and "hardworking".

Being of a similar age, with a home province in common and social communication makes the association strong and active enough to hold activities most weekends, even if it has expanded to become a community of nearly 100,000 today, 10 times the number of his followers a year ago.

"That is what the Internet era offers - connect your customer with your brand," he said as he changed position again, riding the chair and two hands holding another in a dominating manner, just as he dominates F.N.T, "the trump card of F.N.T is this 100,000-member association."