Brisbane’s Lychee Lounge is poised to expand its operations after succeeding throughout more than 16 years of business and the recent pandemic.
The Asian-inspired bar, located in Brisbane’s West End, has maintained a consistent work ethic throughout the last 12 months, looking at the pandemic as a chance to expand its customer base and solidifying its local patronage.
Owner Vicky Hong and Venue Manager Josh Wu told Bars and Clubs that the hard work has paid off, saying they are excited for the upcoming business improvements.
Vicky said: “In the coming months we’ll be looking to expand our team and further encourage innovation in our cocktails in order to continue providing memorable experiences to our guests. We’re always looking for changes we can make to do this, however small.”
Josh added about the inspiration behind Lychee Lounge’s offering: “We are always looking for innovative methods to make new drinks for guests to enjoy. Beyond this, we also employ liberal use of ingredients from our Asian-inspired heritage, many of which our guests may never have heard of. This is also reflected in our food menu, which consists of a short list of dishes inspired by a mix of classic Asian and Western foods.”
Vicky explained that Lychee Lounge’s current success would not be as prominent if it wasn’t for using the pandemic as a tool to improve its operations.
She said: “It was difficult, but also rewarding. The COVID-19 pandemic posed unique challenges to us, as it has everyone else – but its also given us the opportunity to solidify our current customer base and forge new relationships with guests who otherwise wouldn’t have known about us.
“The challenges that COVID-19 posed have also allowed us to learn and grow as a venue and as a team and taught us valuable lessons – so in that sense it has been a positive experience.”
Josh continued: “Beyond that, the constant threat of a snap lockdown is always lingering in the back of our minds – however its obviously not something we have any direct influence over and in the end, is of course done in the interests of public health – so we do what we can to make the best of it when it does occur.”
Lychee focuses on guest satisfaction
In addition to its upcoming improvements, Lychee Lounge is also maintaining strict levels of public health compliance, something appreciated by its patrons.
“We will continue to do our best to provide a quality experience and a welcoming environment for guests, as well as to do what we can to support our peers in the hospitality industry. Beyond that, all we can do is do our bit in complying with public health directions so that the country, and the world can emerge from this pandemic as quickly as possible,” Vicky said.
“Guests are starting to feel a return to normality. Apart from the contact-tracing check-ins, guest experiences are now more or less the same as they were pre-pandemic.
“We have noticed more guests expressing appreciation and positivity regarding our consistency throughout the recent period, so that always puts a smile to our faces and a boost to our confidence.”
She added for any bar, utilising the staff available is the “single most important asset” to the success of a venue, stating: “The composition of your team can make or break your venue, so always look to hire staff that fit well within your venue, and retain them by doing the right thing and setting a good example.
“It’s a well-worn adage, but it holds true nonetheless – bar skills can be trained easily; attitude more often than not, can’t. Beyond that though, ensure you’re careful not to foster an environment where staff members with the right attitude are stifled and not encouraged or rewarded for that, because its just as easy to destroy that positivity as it is difficult to rebuild.”
Lychee Lounge is located in Shop 2 of 94 Boundary St, West End, and is open Wednesday and Thursday 4.30pm to midnight, Friday and Saturday 4.30pm to 1am and on Sundays from 4pm to 10pm.