With the last day of trading for Victor Liong’s Chinese caf Lawyers, Guns and Money underway, Hospitality caught up with the chef to find out what’s in the pipeline.
Although he wouldn’t mind fitting in another 20 to 30 covers a day, Liong said that ultimately back-of-house and operational constraints are behind the decision to close the venue and start looking for a new space.
“We want to do an all-day eating establishment, but storage and systems output weren’t that generous, so it was hard,” Liong said.
On the decision to close before finding a new space, Liong said “It was time and resources. I thought, do I want to trade until I find a new place and then relocate, or do I want to consolidate. I chose to pull the troops and the assets back because there are a few changes happening at Lee Ho Fook that will probably take up more time than I have.
“I weighed up the pros and the cons of the situation and went ‘do we trade for another three to six months while we negotiate leases and do a move again, which comes with staffing constraints; staff want to know ‘are we out, are we in, what’s happening with the refurb?’
“I didn’t want to get to the point where in six to eight months I’ve got the space I want, but then I have staffing problems where people have left or they’re sitting there waiting for a refurb.
“So, financially and operationally it just made sense, it just happened to work out that way… Everyone was on board with it, so we went ahead with that plan.”
With plans to reopen somewhere in the city in the next six to nine months, the new Lawyers, Guns and Money won’t stray too far from the original concept.
“Conceptually it should be the same; if it changes it will be because of the space. Say the new space has a bar area we might change it a bit to incorporate that. It will really depend on the space we end up finding.”