By Tony Collins
Business owner George Zhao is living the dream of starting his own company, while also looking to change the way that traditional Chinese takeaways operate.
George is celebrating the first anniversary of i-Krave, which now employs 11 staff at its premises in Broadway Plaza, Ladywood Middleway, following its successful first year.
But as well as creating local employment, the 37-year-old entrepreneur is also hoping to bring the Chinese fast food and takeaway industry bang up to date.
George, aged 37, says: “The current Chinese takeaways are still very traditional, they are still like they were 20 to 30 years ago. After carrying out research, I thought there weren’t many takeaways that were modern. They should have a modern feel and also be of a high standard.”
i-Krave specialises in a fairly small range of popular and proven food dishes such as spare ribs and sweet and sour, the ones that George says “people love and are successful”.
He said: “I previously worked in a range of restaurants and takeaways and could see how they operated. Part of one of my jobs involved coming up with ideas, but I found the mindset difficult to change.
“At i-Krave, we believe in a fresh look takeaway with high quality food and service. We are transparent in every way and super compliant.
“We also treat our staff well because we believe that happy chefs cook happy food.”
George, who was encouraged by friends and family, especially his parents, to follow his dream, says the business has gained a lot of regular customers over the past year.
“Customers say they appreciate our efforts and come back time and time again. Every compliment makes us work harder.”
i-Krave started at a time of increasing competition in the fast food takeaway industry.
George added: “It’s very worrying that a lot of takeaways are closing down or changing owners, and new delivery companies like Just Eat have disrupted business. Traditional Chinese takeaways, such as those run by a husband and wife, are struggling.
“My vision is that we set the benchmark for other takeaway businesses to improve.”