San Francisco, CA
After dedicating 15 years of his life to cooking, Brandon Jew felt conflicted about his love for Chinese food and his frustration with how Americans view Chinese food. Mister Jiu’s was born to preserve the tradition of Chinese cuisine and to showcase a contemporary take with San Francisco food values: small farm, organic, and seasonal ingredients. Now with 55 employees, Mister Jiu’s is a Chinese American restaurant that highlights the best of both cultures.
Mister Jiu’s opened in April 2016 in San Francisco’s Chinatown, but the idea for this restaurant has been developing for nearly three years. “I went everywhere to try and get funding and support to open,” remembers Brandon. “Main Street Launch was the only place that heard me out, was willing to help, and believed in my vision enough to take the risk with me. We wanted to use traditional Chinese equipment, as well as modern tools. With our loan from Main Street Launch, we got a great wok, steamers, and a steam kettle that helps us achieve both the volume we need while preserving the traditions of making this type of cuisine.”
Brandon built his career in kitchens, so the details about developing and running the business were new to him. “The process of trying to raise money really shaped me as an entrepreneur and as the owner of this business,” he reflects. “I had to educate myself about leases, construction, and the other parts of the business so I could answer any question that a potential funder might have.”
Thinking back on his startup experience, Brandon reflects, “My best advice to other entrepreneurs is to ask for help. I asked for help every step of the way from other people who had been through it. Writing my business plan helped me solidify the details of the business. I return to it when I need to make big decisions. My business plan helps me stay true to my vision and to the goals I set out to achieve by creating this business.”