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Finally getting to wok after 3 years of setbacks.


ASUCCESSFUL North East restaurateur has outlined his three-year struggle to open a new business.

David Cheng found success after opening Pan-Asian eaterie Meet & Treat in Newcastle city centre and he set about launching his second business, Wokify, three years ago.

The takeaway on Benton Road has now opened and serves a range of Asian food, from Korean kimchi chicken to Thai green chicken curry.

But the business's opening was almost scuppered, while Mr Cheng's plans were delayed and had to be scaled back, when Mr Cheng's financial backers pulled out at the 11th hour.

Mr Cheng said: "I had investors from China. We were talking about PS300,000 and I had my eyes on opening other outlets that I was going to open immediately after Wokify.

"It was around a month or two later that their shares took a tumble and they pulled out."

The disappearance of Wokify's investors led to Mr Cheng having to pour more of his own money into the business, as well as pay for three years' worth of rent and business rates. He has now brought in another shareholder to help get the business off the ground.

Wokify is now looking to cater for the thousands of office workers around Four Lane Ends and offers a variety of lunch options.

"I have designed this with the Ministry in mind and catering for office workers," said Mr Cheng. "There is another office on the other side of the road with around 6,000 people working in it, so there are about 16,000 people around us."

To cater for the lunch time rush, Wokify is offering an express menu with a range of meals that can be prepared in around five minutes. In the future, Wokify will also run an evening menu.

Mr Cheng is also looking to introduce a new loyalty card to reward his regular customers. He hopes the card will be adopted by the office runners who regularly collect meals for themselves and their colleagues. The takeaway shop has been decorated with a painting of Mr Cheng's children, Oliver and Nicole, displayed on the wall. Chinese characters will also be painted inside the shop, spelling out a traditional proverb.

In English the proverb is: "There is no problem that a meal can't resolve. If you still have the problem have another meal."

Despite Wokify's overseas investors pulling out of the deal, Mr Cheng still has plans to create a chain of takeaways and has already received interest from a potential new backer.

"We have had a lot of repeat customers already," says Mr Cheng. "We have had people coming in two or three times a week and there are a lot of people whose favourite meals I already know."


The portrait of owner David Cheng's children, Oliver and Nicole in the shop

Asian takeaway Wokify has finally opened on Benton Road after three years of setbacks for the owner

Inside Wokify

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 10, 2018
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