Hatching new SME concepts in Beijing

The Hatchery is a start-up incubator with a difference. Based in Beijing, the founders have taken their experience with restaurants and pop-up concept stores and created an incubator space where local and international restaurant entrepreneurs can test their menus.

A constantly changing menu, for brunch, lunch or dinner appeals to expats and locals customers keen to try something new.

"We have a holistic approach when people come to us with to a restaurant concept. We apply a start-up methodology to it."
Guy Thompson, BlueNotes contributing editor

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The Hatchery is located just a few minutes walk from the trendy suburb of Sanlitun, near the Tuanjeihu MTR station. The restaurant space is tucked away in a quiet space behind large furniture shop, and the customers like it that way.

Professional expat and couples arrive right on opening time at 10am and espresso coffee froths away while fresh produce is delivered for today’s menu.

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Ben Mankarious is working with The Hatchery as their platform director and checks in with the kitchen to ensure things are running smoothly.

"We have a holistic approach when people come to us with to a restaurant concept. We apply a start-up methodology to it and support them through the process,” he says. “Funding, strategy, marketing and getting a solid launch.”

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“We have a wide list of entrepreneurs who are looking to use the space, so it’s a matter of distilling down the best ideas and seeing where we can take them.

“A residency here can be anywhere from 2 - 6 months and then we work with them through a step by step process called HatchTrack to grow it into a stand-alone business.”

The Hatchery team includes entrepreneurs and advisors based in coworking incubator offices. They work with a community of F&B entrepreneurs and business to help guide restaurant concepts, packaged food and beverage products, from concept through to launch and beyond.

"We are open to anything, if the idea is solid we are keen to get involved. We are all entrepreneurs so we all have our own projects underway, with a few failures to learn from and share with others."

The first restaurant space in Tianjeihu has plenty of room for meetings, dining and events. The team researches new locations to test and uses their following on Chinese social media to keep patrons updated.

Kiwi Co-founder Alex Worker ensures there is a good selection of New Zealand wine and craft beer available. 

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"Many of these craft brewers are exporting small volumes into China, so it's great to be another outlet for them", Mankarious says.

“There are plenty of customers here who are keen to see new ideas and try new flavours. Beijing is a massive market you can tackle in just one city without taking on all of China.”

Tastes move very fast in China and a space like The Hatchery gives budding Masterchefs from down-under the opportunity to test a sophisticated international market, without gambling everything on a untested location.

Guy Thompson -  Corporate Affairs, ANZ New Zealand

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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