Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Din Tai Fung Artist Renderings of South Coast Plaza Locale

Arguably our favorite shopping destination, South Coast Plaza's announcement to bring in dumpling house Din Tai Fung can be summed up in a word: Impressive. Sold around the globe, there are only three in the US-- two in California and one in Seattle. While we don't possess time travel or Smell-O-Vision technologies, we did acquire intel which may cause you to involuntarily salivate (at least it made us crave soup dumplings). Let us amuse you with a few artist renderings, quotes on the expansion and excerpts on corporate philosophy.

Service: At Din Tai Fung, we put the customer's needs first. This is both what we aim to deliver and strive to achieve. Our highest expression of our service philosophy is to meet customer's expectations before they have even voiced them.

If you're wondering exactly where this exterior entrance is located, the glimpse of parking structure on the right should tip you off. This is the former McDonald's parking area. Street level when you approach, but second floor dining upon entry, floor-to-ceiling glass windows will not only allow natural sunlight into the space (perfect for food photography), but pedestrians will have a full view of what they are missing from their day.

Per Werner Escher (Executive Director of International Markets), "Dining has always added luster to South Coast Plaza's collection of luxury of and designer retail and another reason to extend the visit. The addition offers the option to enjoy yet another ethnic cuisine."

Quality: We expect the highest standards in our production process. Everything from the selection of the raw materials, the processing of ingredients, the flavoring and cooking as well as table service must meet the strict standards that we set for ourselves or they won't be delivered to the customer's table. We are constantly seeking new improvements. Every step of the process must be quantified, all production methods standardized, our service friendliness personified, the management systemized, our techniques modernized and all personnel properly trained and educated. Only then can we maintain the superb quality of our product.

While food quality is at the top of our list when it comes to our dining experiences, I rank ambiance immediately after. Because sitting down to a meal is about the experience. It's how comfortable our seat is, whether the server refilled our beverage without us asking and the cleanliness of the restroom. Situating themselves at SCP sets the bar higher than if Din Tai Fung invaded a plaza in Irvine. Expectations will need to be met to keep up with the caliber of existing restaurants such as Marche Moderne and Leatherby's Cafe Rouge.

Beverly Hills architect-designer Anthony Poon quantified many of his detailed renderings. Maximum headroom will peak at 225. Broken down, this includes 25 in the exterior patio, 175 in the primary dining space and another 25 seated in their bar and lounge-- a first for them. Strategic placement of their exhibition kitchen ensures passersby will catch a glimpse of the dumpling making process.

Poon said the design pays homage to the dumpling both as a piece of art and a piece of gourmet cuisine. The restaurant's construction pays the same attention to craft, quality, material and detail that goes into the renowned dumpling making.

Gourmet: What customers want is to satisfy their palate. And if this isn't satisfied, no matter how cheap the prices may be, the food will not be worth eating. At Din Tai Fung, we have insisted on remaining true to the original taste. When customers visit us again,  they can enjoy that taste again and be satisfied once more.

Placed across from Starbucks and replacing the original McDonald's space, DTF speaks of a philosophy that these two powerhouse brands thrive on. Consistency is what brings individuals back. They know what to expect and what it should cost them. A temporary loss of the fastest food will force diners to rethink where their time is spent when hunger pangs hit. This may result in an egress to a location down the street, or maybe just a redistribution of where monies are spent among the remaining eateries. I'm positive the amount of Asian tourism SCP attracts factored in, as well as overall multi-cultural population of the county.

Business: When Bingyi Yang, founder of Din Tai Fung, passed the reins to his son Jihwa, total quality management and improved service became catchphrases. What had been a small eatery was transformed through corporate management to meet international hospitality standards. This not only served to make Chinese cuisine famous, but also make it a world famous brand. Our dedication to products far exceeds our interest in profit margins. To us, our customers' expectations will always take priority over profits.

Members of the founding family, Frank and Joanne Yang, stated, "We are excited to bring Din Tai Fung closer to our loyal Southern California customers, and also to introduce our cuisine to a wider audience."

8,000 square feet will be transformed over the next several months. A springtime debut (April is their current delivery date) will breathe new life in a corner of South Coast Plaza. The foot traffic alone will cause a stir in our preferred parking structure. But that's a first world problem, and I'll deal with that when it happens.