Halina Tam Finds Success As Snack Shop Owner
Halina Tam (譚小環) may have found her true calling. Although the 41-year-old Miss Hong Kong winner made little progress in her entertainment career, she is now enjoying a second chance at success with a thriving snack shop business.
After winning the crown in 1994’s Miss Hong Kong Pageant, Halina worked for TVB as a variety show host and often filled minor supportive roles in dramas. She left the company in 2011 after nearly 18 years of service, reportedly because she was frustrated at her low $18000 HKD monthly salary and the measly $300 HKD raise that TVB had offered as a contract renewal incentive. Since then, Halina has disappeared from the entertainment industry and lived a normal life with her husband, insurance executive Eric Choi (蔡強榮).
With Eric’s help and encouragement, Halina got her first taste of business ownership when she opened a craft supplies store in 2013. She continued her entrepreneurial adventure last month with a small snack shop in Causeway Bay, selling popular street foods such as fish balls, rice rolls, and noodles. Chopping off her long hair and wearing little makeup, Halina put her focus on her customers and worked long hours as a hands-on boss. She was seen handling every detail, from transporting supplies to cleaning the tables, all done with a constant smile on her face.
Her mother is often by her side, and Halina credits her for keeping her customers happy. “Mom used to be a street hawker selling pajamas, so she understands what customers want. She is also a “taste king” and helps me season the sauces… and she would ask customers for feedback so we can immediately make changes to fix problems.”
When local media reported on her new venture, many fans flocked to Halina’s shop for a chance to meet her. Halina welcomes their business and kindly takes photos and chats with each of them. Since news broke, her shop saw a steady stream of curious people, locals and tourists alike. Every day, she sells 3000 fish balls, 2000 siu mai, and 3000 rice rolls, making roughly $340,000 HKD so far. Seeing profit in her first shop, Halina opened her second snack shop on March 22.
Even though she is still new to the business, Halina seems to have a good grasp on the secret formula to success. “Food shops really rely on quality and service. We are very strict with our food’s quality. We have taste-tested all the products for a whole month before we opened so that we would sell only the best. Sometimes we would keep a limited supply of certain items to maintain their quality. I would also come up with new menu items every two weeks so that our customers will always have something new to try.”
This article is written by Katrine for JayneStars.com.