Forty-five years in the restaurant business is something to applaud. Gene Lum currently manages the Chinese establishment that has kept customers happy and stomachs satisfied since 1972. His parents, Yolanda and John Lum, came to America in 1968 and started by opening up a small takeout shop called Lotus Heart.
“My mom was behind the counter, my dad was in the back cooking … and that was it,” said Lum.
The takeout place was small but mighty, receiving such positive feedback from the community that the Lums began looking for a larger space to open a full-service restaurant.
“They looked at a couple of spaces and settled on here,” said Lum of their current location on West Boston Post Road.
Lum started working for his parents in 1997. They retired in 2006 and he has been running the operation ever since.
Photos courtesy Lum Yen
What’s the family’s secret to their longevity?
“I think food, first and foremost, is the most important thing,” said Lum. “Having consistent quality has been very important to us. Keeping the customers happy and satisfied is also important.”
Running a business is not always smooth sailing. Remaining in the same location for decades, Lum has seen an increase in the number of restaurants, going from just a handful to about forty in Mamaroneck alone.
“The pie is definitely cut up into smaller pieces for everybody,” said Lum. “There are more options for people to eat and dine out, which was one of our biggest obstacles.”
Challenges did not stop with competitive dining. One of the biggest difficulties Lum has faced while working at the restaurant was during the recession.
“We saw a big decrease in the number of times our customers would be dining out or would call for delivery,” said Lum. “In that time period between 2009 until about 2013, you just saw a lot of businesses come and go. How do you adapt to that in that time frame?”
It was Lum’s perseverance helped keep his restaurant afloat.
“I’ve tried to be more efficient with the menu and be more mindful of food costs, but at the same time try to remain quality and keeping our customers happy.”
Despite the difficulties, Lum continues to show his confidence in the business and knows he finds happiness in what he does.
“I enjoy it. Meeting new people every day … every day is a different day.”
Lum Yen Restaurant
100 West Boston Post Rd, Mamaroneck
914.698.6881 or 6882
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