For our fifth volume of Quality in Life, we interviewed Lan Do, the founder of Bánh Mì Très Bon, an authentic and incredibly delicious Vietnamese restaurant located in Richmond B.C. Open for just over five years now, Bánh Mì Très Bon has taken Richmond by storm as they constantly provide their customers with Vietnamese staples and seasonal dishes such as Bún Riêu (a crab and tomato soup with vermicelli), Signature Mini Shrimp Spring Rolls, Gỏi Bưởi (pomelo shrimp salad), Bánh Mì Jambon (their most popular Vietnamese sub), and more. From the moment you enter Lan’s store, you feel great. Whether it is the charming decor, the amazing staff, or the tasty food you know that you are in for a great meal and even better conversation if you are lucky enough to chat with Lan. Learning about her journey and the amount of hard work and dedication it has taken to provide a level of food quality this high to her customers was inspiring. This is why we are so enamoured by Lan and Bánh Mì Très Bon’s story. This restaurant is yet another great example of a place that expresses quality and community and is shown very clearly through our interview with Lan.

Lan’s journey started seven years ago after quitting her corporate job to pursue her dream of opening a Vietnamese restaurant. With no prior experience, she spent two years researching the food industry and the different components of running a business. She said that she travelled back to Vietnam and spent four months with top chefs in Vietnamese cuisine to gain a deeper understanding of the culture; where each dish originated from, and the ingredients in them. Each chef that she trained with were noted to all have around 50 to 60 years of experience cooking this cuisine. During her four months there, Lan spent her time learning and cooking Vietnamese cuisine for 16 hours a day, six days a week. She noted that this was the most exciting and profound experience she has had. Lan learned about construction and design to run her business properly. This is clearly seen through the food and the ambient decor in the restaurant. She made it clear that for her, success is about having and creating a space where everybody loves to come eat and have a body of staff that is an extension of her family. Lan says that for her, it's about building a work culture where her staff feel like they are a part of the bigger picture. She makes a point of treating each member equally and considers herself to be just another employee; disbanding hierarchical culture. This is how Bánh Mì Très Bon created a positive work atmosphere, and why their customers often feel like the restaurant is another home away from home when they dine there. In terms of quality and community, Bánh Mì Très Bon is no exception and goes above and beyond their call to express these concepts.

We asked Lan how her restaurant expresses Koterie’s principles of quality and community. Her response was amazing. Firstly, Bánh Mì Très Bon always gives back to the community they are a part of. Whoever needs help, Lan and the Bánh Mì Très Bon family always give as much as they can. For instance, during the height of the pandemic they unfortunately had to temporarily close down. Although they were closed, their drive to support their community was easy to see as they spent time cooking for those in need twice every week. Although they were not open for regular business, Lan and her staff worked hard to put food on the table for people who were unable to during these trying times. For them, it is not about the paycheque, but more so about what they can do for their team, community, and business. Lan knows all of her regulars by name and has had the pleasure of watching people grow up as they have come in since their inception. Her best friend is actually one of the restaurant's first customers. In terms of quality, it is what Lan has set as the baseline of her business. She noted that when she eats, she eats at Bánh Mì Très Bon and so does her family. Quality is about what you put in your body and that should be good ingredients. She grew up being able to eat organic food provided by her parents and her grandparents because they never settled for less. The same goes for her family and children, so Lan makes it a point to do the same for her customers and community. This is exemplified through their food as they always try to use organic, local, and top quality ingredients in whatever they make. Each bite is noticeably just as flavourful as the first when ingredients like these are used. The restaurant always uses the highest grades of food and Lan personally tastes every single item they use in their kitchen to make sure it’s up to standard.

It is not hard to notice the amount of attention to detail that goes into the customer service and quality of food that Bánh Mì Très Bon serves. Lan has now achieved what she set out to do seven years ago and now is at the forefront of providing authentic and delicious Vietnamese cuisine in the lower mainland. We enjoyed learning more about Lan and Bánh Mì Très Bon and hope you are able to visit their store and experience what we have been so excited to write about.

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