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SPOTLIGHT: Restaurant owner/manager

  Maine Jobs interview with Pom

At work with: Rattanaphorn "Pom" Boobphachati, owner/manager,
Thai Taste, Thai Pom restaurants, South Portland

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pom Boobphachati
"Be genuinely happy to take care of your customers," is "Pom" Boobphachati's advice to people who are interested in a restaurant career.
Rattanaphorn (Pom) Boobphachati is owner of Thai Taste and Pom's Thai Restaurants in South Portland, ME.
Photo by Merry Farnum

How did you get started in this field?
I came to the United States in November 1997 to get a master's degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. I completed my degree in 2000. While earning my MBA, I waitressed at a Thai restaurant in Boston. Later I was approached by my boss to start a restaurant in Brunswick. After running that restaurant for a year, I decided to start my own business. I chose the Cottage Road location because one of my regular customers recommend it. Thai Taste opened on June 20, 2002. With almost four years' experience with the good business and good staff at Thai Taste, I decided to open in a second location. I chose the Maine Mall area because I get many orders for catering and delivery from nearby offices (customers from National Semiconductor have driven to have lunch at Thai Taste every week since we opened on Cottage Road.) I opened Thai Pom's Restaurant in March 2006. We get a large lunch crowd from big companies in the area. For dinner business, most customers are visitors from the airport, hotels and the shopping crowd.

What training did you have?
After Johnson & Wales, most of my training came from responses from and recommendations by customers. I also spend a lot of time reading up on the food industry, and traveling to get good ideas.

What skills are essential to your job?
Know how to manage your staff. Listen to your customers. Observe every detail of the business. Learn to do every job, in case of a staff shortage for a period of time.

What is a typical day on the job like?
I try to be at both locations equally. Monday-Friday lunch, I always go to Thai Pom on Western Avenue until 2 p.m. After that, during the break time, I might do accounts, paperwork and make telephone calls. In the evening, I go to both places to make sure everything runs smoothly.

What's your favorite part of the job?
Taking care of customers and talking with them about anything -food, service, how my wait staff is doing, business, life ...

What's the greatest challenge?
Letting everyone know what authentic Thai food is really like - how fresh , healthy and flavorful.

What kind of person succeeds in the job?
You have to love what you are doing. Pay attention to every detail. Know how to deal with people, both staff and customers. Enjoy the long hours. Be genuinely happy to take care of your customers.