Tell us your story.
Nguyen Xuan Son: I originally hail from Vietnam. I migrated to Poland in 2007 with the hope to find a good job to financially support my family back home. I had my very first jobs as a kitchen assistant. I got promoted to be the chef in a few restaurants by 2011. After saving up for several years, I resigned from my job and opened my first restaurant. However, it wasn’t a successful venture and I went bankrupt. I was back to square one, working for someone else and saving up again. I realized that it is not an easy task to own and run a business. I was inexperienced in business management.
How did you come up with the idea of Pho Lovers?
In November 2018, I returned to the Polish market and opened a new restaurant called Pho Lovers located on ulica Tamka 45A [withing spitting distance – less than 80m – of the Fryderyk Chopin Museum in Warsaw] with a vision to introduce restaurant-goers to Asian cuisine and culture. I have been taking online marketing and business management courses while running my business daily. I keep extremely busy but I’m highly motivated and passionate about what I do. I feel proud that my restaurant has a very good reputation and opinions in Warsaw. I’m fairly proud that we are one of the best Vietnamese restaurants which serves the best Pho (a Vietnamese soup consisting of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat) in Poland. Our goal is to serve the best quality food at a reasonable price. In addition to maintaining strict hygiene, constantly considering customer feedback is also our objective to keep the business sustainable.
How is your restaurant aiding the fight against the coronavirus?
The Covid-19 virus has been threatening people’s health and the economy. As an immigrant who lives and does business in Poland, I feel from my heart that I need to join the community to support the fight against the virus. And as a result, I organized a “food tour” with my food truck that gave away free meals to doctors who are working in the Central Clinical Hospital of Ministry of the Interior and Administration in Warsaw and taking care of Covid victims. May was the most meaningful month of my life. The reproduction number of the virus in Poland seems under control currently. However, if there is a need in the future, I will always be ready to join and support the Polish government and doctors to fight Covid. In the future, I would like to open a few more restaurants in Warsaw and continue to serve top quality food and contribute to the Polish economy. I also aim to diversify culturally, especially Asian culture, through cuisine.