Jeff Kim could have easily been lured into the big American hotel management system. But spending his teenage years in Christchurch fired his independence and desire to one day be a business owner.
Fast forward to 2019 and he is the founder of “&Sushi”. He currently has three stores in Newmarket, at Cityworks in Auckland’s CBD and at Goodside at Smales Farm Takapuna. A fourth, in Auckland’s Britomart, will open soon.
Jeff is one of a rapidly growing number of Aider converts. While he is still learning and adding apps, he is convinced that artificial intelligence (AI) driven and cloud-based tools like Aider are a must to save time now and provide better business management in the future.
“It’s about efficiency too. I particularly like that I don’t have to sign in each app. One sign in to Aider opens the lot.”
– Jeff Kim, &Sushi Founder
Going back in time, Jeff explains after Christchurch Boys High he did his hospitality management degree at Lincoln University. In the last semester he was lucky enough to score an exchange to Purdue University in the United States. It was there that he was grabbed by Marriott Hotels and spent several months going through the various hotel departments on his way to management.
“I came back to Christchurch though and picked up a job at the George Hotel as restaurant manager,” he says. “I met my wife, Tara, in Christchurch and she had a fashion design background. That brought us to Auckland where we opened her Olivia fashion stores first.
“Once our two children were old enough, I looked for my own business to buy.”
Jeff started with a sushi shop in Blockhouse Bay, back when there was nothing like it in a 3 km radius. He sold that to start &Sushi, taking the name from his love of the ampersand “&” and the philosophy of everything comes before the sushi, including people, community and the next generation.
Jeff is focused on the next generation – from the use of healthy ingredients and sustainable, environmentally friendly packaging, through to cloud-based business tools.
His Aider day starts by opening the app on his mobile phone. That gives him access to a range of tools including Kounta, Xero, Google Analytics and social media including Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
“I particularly like that I don’t have to sign in to each app. One sign in to Aider opens the lot.”
For starters Jeff gleans information on the overnight sales and follows that up with a 3 p.m. report on his lunchtime sales. He can get the total, and then the data broken down to the different stores.
He frequently checks via Xero how his net profit is tracking – and keeps an eye on his cash position.
“It’s about efficiency too. During the day I have so many activities that is not hard to forget something, so I have pop up notifications in Aider to keep me on track,” he says. “If I ask a question and Aider can’t provide an immediate answer, the next day I will have the answer and it will have learned how to find that.”
Aider is constantly evolving as new data is requested by its users. Questions are currently asked through the mobile keyboard, but voice recognition is imminent. Aider’s team of developers work through new questions from users every day and devise the programming codes to unlock the data required.
Jeff says he looks around at what hospitality businesses are doing and he says he has no doubt that tools like Aider and automation of certain tasks to save time and labour costs are here to stay.