We had the good fortune of connecting with Khim Teoh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Khim, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When I graduated from UC Irvine with a B.A in Economics and minor in Management, I started on the corporate ladder path. I worked at a Fortune 500 company as a Human Resource Analyst for a year before I quickly realized that being behind the office desk crunching data and numbers was not for me. I needed to be more hands on and have more interaction with people so I decided to quit my cushy corporate job and start my own business with the mindset that I was young enough to give it my all and if I lost everything, I could always start again from the bottom of the corporate ladder. That was definitely the most important thought as an entrepreneur that you have to be willing to work as hard as possible and at the same time take the risk. My philosophy was always hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst. Create need and want by using all my resources in marketing and sell the heck out of it!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Seasons Kitchen USA is the only street food style Malaysian restaurant here in Southern California. This labor of love business stemmed from both my husband’s and my desire to share the taste of our origin home country Malaysia to the foodie community. My husband is the Chef who leads the kitchen team and I am the front of house leader in charge of sales, catering and running the day to day operations. In four years since opening our doors, we have managed to build the brand by doing corporate pop ups and catering with clients such as Boeing, Tinder, Grindr and Spotify. We have also managed to maintain a 4.5 star rating on Yelp and Google Business and continue to grow our clientele despite the challenges of the recent pandemic. Our biggest challenge initially is to make Malaysian food known to the community and get them in our restaurant to experience the exciting flavors. We partnered with all the major third party delivery companies such as UberEATS, Postmates and DoorDash to reach new customers. We used social media heavily also to engage our audience and create a buzz. The most important lesson we have learned is to continually try new marketing strategies to bring customers in the door and create awareness for Malaysian cuisine. When the pandemic hit us, we had to quickly pivot our business and come up with our own in house delivery system to reach our customers as far as 50 miles from our restaurant by getting pool orders and setting up designated days for certain areas such as Los Angeles, San Diego and even Riverside county. We’ve clocked ten thousand miles of delivery in six months since the pandemic started. We also turned half the dining area into a specialized Malaysian pantry store to create a new revenue streamline. That led to creating an online store using the Shopify platform and reaching more customers searching for Malaysian pantry items in all of America.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Day one Griffith observatory visit, hike to the Hollywood sign. Have a feast at Pailin Thai Cuisine in Hollywood. Take a stroll to Hollywood boulevard Day Two Third Street Promenade Santa Monica to see all the street performers,shop and soak in LA lifestyle and walk the Santa Monica Pier Eat okonimiyaki at Chinchikurin in Sawtelle Day Three Disneyland and California adventure Eat at Seasons Kitchen USA Malaysian restaurant in Anaheim Day Four Biking from Balboa to Newport Beach. Enjoy the SoCal beaches Eat at The Crab Cooker, Newport Beach Day Five Sport fishing at Dana Point Wharf Eat at Maison Cafe & Market, Dana point Day Six Drive out to Wrightwood for campfire and hiking Day Seven Universal Studios theme park In N Out Burger
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My single mom who gave up everything to bring us to the States to pursue the American dream of a good life. She was also the one who gave me the opportunity to run her retail hotel gift shop while I was in college and taught me how to be a business owner at a very young age. She’s supported all my business ventures including the ones that have failed and I am truly grateful to have a strong female mentor in my life.
Other: Online Pantry shop link: Www.tinyurl.com/seasonskitchenshop