Roger Chan

Roger Chan

Restaurant Manager, Kani Ka Pila Grille

Where were you born and raised? Born and raised in Hong Kong. I came to Hawaii about 12 years ago.

What’s your first food memory? Buying lamb chops from local butchers to make grilled lamb chops for dinner – roasted garlic drizzled with olive oil.

What made you interested in the F&B world? Tasting delicious cuisines from all around the world.

The industry can be pretty demanding, especially when dealing with high profile guests. Any tips for survival? Service, patience, fresh food and new, creative ideas.

Poor service and staff performance are the single biggest thing that can turn people off a restaurant – is it an ongoing problem to keep staff highly motivated – especially front of house? I don’t believe that today’s young people are as mature as they were in the old days. People who work in the F&B industry need to understand that great customer service is the key to success.

Do you cook at home? If so, what’s your specialty? I cook beef stew, poke and lau lau … I love local food.

What’s always in your fridge? Not very much, although there’s always beer. With whom would you most like to have dinner at Kani Ka Pila? Because of my career, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a number of celebrities and other famous people. However, the people with whom I would most like to have dinner at Kani Ka Pila Grille would be my family and close friends.

Where do you like to eat when not working? For casual food I think Sam Choy has a great poke plate. My son and I like to go to Lobster King. When my wife and I want to have a special evening to ourselves, Roy’s in Hawaii Kai is our choice. The food is excellent, and the consistency is always there.

What’s the single most challenging part of being in the service industry? Being able to deal with customers on a consistently positive basis can be tough for some people. Every customer who walks through the door has a different expectation and opinion on what he or she considers great customer service. My goal each day is to make sure that every customer who dines at Kani Ka Pila Grille leaves satisfied, happy and wanting to return

And the most gratifying? Having a customer simply smile and say thank you at the end of their meal is truly gratifying for me. When patrons leave happy, you know you and your team have done a great job providing them with both a pleasant meal and a memorable experience. And in the end, you’ve earned yourself a return guest!

Anything about you that might surprise us? You don’t really have a lot of spare time when you’re in the restaurant business, but when I have a few moments to myself I enjoy listening to classical music.

If you hadn’t become a food and beverage industry professional. what would you be doing today? If my love for the food and beverage business hadn’t panned out, I would probably be a computer programmer today.