The Foodtrepreneur Navigating COVID-19 — Meet with Simon Wong, Chairperson and CEO of LH Group (叙福樓集團)

1TQiI 7n5XDkDuP948bKEJw
Meeting with Simon has raised 142 volunteer hours!

Sometimes the most meaningful and inspiring conversations happen over casual meals. The Time Auction Blog is a snippet of our meetings with people who have found passion in their lives and career.

Staying connected despite COVID-19, at Time Auction Hong Kong, we’ve once again taken advantage of Zoom to talk with Simon Wong, Chairperson and CEO of LH Group (叙福樓集團), learning how he overcomes personal and organisational hurdles.

Meet Simon Wong!

Simon is an entrepreneur active in innovating the Food & Beverage industry with a strong engineering background. As the Chairperson and CEO of LH Group (叙福樓集團) and Kabushikigaisha Limited, he leads the management of over 10 famous restaurant brands such as Gyu-Kaku (牛角), On-Yasai (温野菜), Mou Mou Club (牛涮鍋) and more.

With his many accolades and responsibilities, he frequently engages in promoting environmental-friendly and socially responsible policies. Simon curated a 6-course wedding banquet menu to reduce food waste, pioneered in offering “No Shark Fin” sustainable seafood wedding banquet menu with WWF HK and initiated the “Suspended Meal” scheme in Hong Kong after participating in “Rich Mate Poor Mate III” (窮富翁大作戰) in 2013 and gaining insights on poverty.

Throughout his in-depth and insightful sharing, Simon gave a humorous and honest take on his mentality on facing adversity, criticism and success.

The Hotpot Hurdle

“The common characteristic of successful people I’ve seen — perseverance. Failure is just what happens when you give up at your worst moments.”

When asked about what the life lesson that took him the longest to learn, Simon answered: “Don’t give up.” COVID-19 might have been the most challenging situation throughout his entrepreneurial journey, he recalled the “hotpot cluster”, an incident where coronavirus was transmitted when 19 family members were enjoying the beloved communal dish. 11 members were confirmed to be infected and became the largest family cluster case by far. This caused customers to avoid hotpot restaurants in fear of catching the virus.

As he runs a successful hotpot chain, this meant a devastating plunge in customers and a highly uncertain future for his businesses. Having considered closing down the chain, Simon persevered and analyzed relevant information. Upon inspection, the “hotpot cluster” occurred at a party room — a venue for large gatherings, and had poor ventilation measures compared to hotpot restaurants. With confidence in his restaurant and hygienic measures, Simon persisted in operating the business.

He concluded the lesson he learned was to never give up and use an analytical mindset to overcome hurdles.

“We fall to pick ourselves up.”

Something New

Through the session, we were able to understand how Simon grew his analytical ability. As an avid reader, Simon read a multitude of books such as Newton’s Principia. These books often inspired him and enabled him to learn from views very different from his. As such, he recommended books that would be eye-opening to us.

《成長,帶著這封信》
“An easy read. 21 people wrote a letter to their children and I’m one of them! But I’m sure others wrote better ones.”

張石《靖國神社與中日生死觀》
“This is a life-changing read. It made me realise the world is filled with taboos, but if we gave the time to read and explore the reasons behind it, we just might realise it’s a whole different story.”

Through suggesting diverse books, he recommended us to explore complex ideas, understand taboos, and learn something new.

No Superpowers?

Continuing the discussion, Simon shared what inspired his mentality in facing adversity. Quoting incidents from “Rich Mate Poor Mate III”, he expressed how it was a transformative experience to live without financial and technological aid we take for granted, inspiring him to appreciate what he has. Thus, when asked about what superpower he wanted, he simply answered.

“I can’t think of any superpower that I would like to have. I am alive and I think that’s miraculous enough.”

He reminded us not to overlook how fantastic being alive is, and as such we don’t need a superpower, instead appreciate and have a deeper understanding of our own ability to live a fuller life.

Dealing with criticism

On an ending note, he noted that a lot of us were interested in learning how to deal with criticism. He explained there’s always someone who will disagree with you, and it’s important to do what you think is right.

“Will you still offer your seat to an elderly if they didn’t thank you?”

As we all said yes, Simon continues to explain, “ You will do what is right without recognition, so why care too much about what others think? Just do what you believe is correct.”

If you follow Simon’s Facebook, you’ll see how he often expresses his own opinion and interacts with others. As a public figure, he describes he tries to seek the value of criticism. Whilst dealing with hateful comments, Simon explains that if he sees constructive information on his restaurant operations, he’ll extract what needs to improve and move on, instead of being emotionally affected by the negative comments.

Concluding the sharing with thought-provoking discussions, we have surely gained insight on Simon’s journey and how we also can navigate adversity, criticism and persevere for success.

Thank you, Simon, for raising 142 volunteer hours and all the volunteers who dedicated their time for Hong Kong Guide Dog Association, Shek Kip Mei Lutheran Centre and more!

For our upcoming experiences, visit Time Auction Hong Kong to volunteer and meet inspiring mentors!

This article originally appeared on our blog on Medium: https://timeauction.medium.com/the-foodtrepreneur-surviving-covid-19-meet-with-simon-wong-chairperson-and-ceo-of-lh-group-52a918c4b30f

Updated on 8 April, 2021
Share on

Volunteer Your Skills for Worthy Causes

Ever thought you could volunteer with your skills?

Discover volunteer projects where you can use your skills to support causes – all while building your resume, gaining references and making a difference!
Discover Projects
【2024義工活動】點樣加入義工行列?5大義工服務種類推介
你對「做義工」嘅認識有幾多?好多人都未必熟悉除咗賣旗籌款同探訪老人院之外,仲有咩其他類型嘅義工服務。究竟坊間有邊啲做義工嘅途徑,可以搵到適合自己嘅義工機會呢? 其實香港大大小小嘅慈善團體或非牟利機構  (NGO) 都會招募義工,而非牟利機構嘅義工服務範疇亦非常多元化,包括技能義工 (Skilled-volunteers),善用義工嘅個人技能同專長服務社會。你可以根據唔同嘅服務種類,或者按自己嘅喜好、關心嘅社會議題選擇義工機會。以下係5種常見嘅義工服務範疇同機構簡介畀你參考: 目錄 (一):動物福利 (二):長者服務 (三):青年發展 (四):環境保護 (五):社區服務 技能義工配對平台推介 常見嘅義工服務範疇(一):動物福利 如果你係狗奴、貓奴,或者鍾意動物,不妨考慮做動物義工!除咗有機會親身接觸毛孩之外,仲可以利用自己嘅一技之長,支援NGO嘅日常運作。雖然根據政府公佈的數據,動物棄養嘅數量有持續下降趨勢,但因近年的移民潮影響,保護動物慈善協會表示棄養寵物個案兩年升近三倍。因此,很多關注動物福利的團體都十分需要義工加入服務行列。 義工服務性質:清潔籠舍、照顧動物、活動推廣等 香港動物基金 Hong Kong Paws Foundation 香港動物基金係一間完全依靠慈善捐款同義工支持嘅動物福祉組織,希望拯救被虐待、遺棄同走失嘅動物。 香港愛護動物協會 SPCA (HK) 香港愛護動物協會係本港首間兼顧動物福利各方面嘅慈善團體,提倡善待動物,同時打擊同防止虐待動物。 Bring Me Home (Suppaw) Bring Me Home (Suppaw) 係一個寵物社交網站,亦係香港首個無償動物領養平台。 嘉道理農場暨植物園 Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden 嘉道理農場暨植物園為需要支持的農民提供農業援助,幫助他們過上獨立嘅生活; 並為公眾提供休閒同教育體驗。  Team for Animals in Lantau South (TAILS) 南大嶼山動物保護隊為有需要的貓狗提供救援、醫療、絕育、養育、庇護、寄養同領養服務,包括那些 流浪、被遺棄、受傷、虐待同忽視既貓狗,大力提倡動物福利,相信教育可以創造有利於香港動物嘅變革。 立即發掘更多! 常見嘅義工服務範疇(二):長者服務 隨著香港長者人口上升,越來越多關注老人家嘅機構都招募緊義工,希望為老友記送上更多關懷。 義工服務性質:家居維修、網頁設計、文字翻譯等 […]
Success Can be Rebuilt, Integrity Cannot — Dinner with Tse Po Tat, Chairman & Executive Director of Hung Fook Tong Group (鴻福堂)
Sometimes the most meaningful and inspiring conversations happen over casual meals. The Time Auction Blog is a snippet of our meetings with people who have found passion in their life and career, where we get a glimpse into their mentality behind their ventures. As Chairman and Executive Director of one of Hong Kong’s top wellness […]
Striking the Perfect Balance with Belinda Koo, XYZ Founder & UBS Managing Director
Be an asset, not a liability. Belinda Koo’s motto is one of the many reasons for her success and why this mentorship lunch with her was so highly anticipated by our Time Auction volunteers. Her exceptional work ethic is how she juggles being a doting mother while excelling as Managing Director at UBS, and somehow […]
The Entrepreneurial DNA Behind Prenetics — Dinner with Danny Yeung, CEO of Prenetics
Sometimes the most meaningful and inspiring conversations happen over casual meals. The Time Auction Blog is a snippet of our meetings with people who have found passion in their life and career, where we get a glimpse into their mentality behind their ventures. Danny is a serial entrepreneur and investor who started his entrepreneurial career […]
Food for the mind & body — Lunch with Peggy, Founder of Grassroots Pantry
Any foodie who is health conscious would probably have been to Grassroots Pantry on Hollywood Road. It was a bliss to meet with Peggy Chan, Chef and Founder of Grassroots Pantry, who provided us not only with a taste of her delectable vegetarian dishes but also plenty of food for thought at this “very instagrammable […]
Lessons on True Love from Arranging 100,000+ Dates— Dinner with Violet Lim, Co-Founder and CEO of Lunch Actually Group
Sometimes the most meaningful and inspiring conversations happen over casual meals. The Time Auction Blog is a snippet of our meetings with people who have found passion in their life and career, where we get a glimpse into their mentality behind their ventures. Being a female cupid is no easy job. Over the years, Violet, […]
Stay Courageous, Stay Creative - Lunch with Rachel Catanach, President, FleishmanHillard Greater China
Sometimes the most meaningful and inspiring conversations happen over casual meals. The Time Auction Blog is a snippet of our meetings with people who have found passion in their life and career, where we get a glimpse into their mentality behind their ventures. As the president and senior partner of FleishmanHillard, Greater China office, Rachel […]
Top