English text by Lars Pinnerup
In August 2004 Nicolas Hardy and fellow Dane, Niels Bjoerndahl opened up ZEN, a sushi restaurant located in Lamai.
“The choice was between touristy Chaweng and Lamai.
“There is no doubt, that Chaweng is the place to set up a restaurant if you want to make a profit,” Nicholas Hardy says.
“Chaweng gets all the charter tourists who spend a lot of money during their two week stays on the island, while Lamai is more like the place where long-term tourists go,” he adds.
A good offer from the owner of the restaurant facilities, and Nicholas Hardy’s already established social circuits in Lamai, convinced the Danes to set up the restaurant there.
Nicholas Hardy has never tried running his own business before this. His partner Niels Bjoerndahl used to be kitchen manager at Steaks ‘n’ Sushi in Gentofte, Copenhagen, so he is in charge of the kitchen at Zen while Nicholas Hardy takes care of the business in front.
After having tested the menu on the customers for a while, the two decided to have more than just fish on the menu.
“Only having sushi on the menu sends off potential customers before they even enter the restaurant. Some people like fish, but then again some do not. Therefore we have decided to add burgers to the menu,” Nicholas Hardy says, admitting that introducing burgers on the menu has boosted sales.