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The life of a restaurant proprietor


“WORKING as an employee for other companies or org-anisations does nothing to improve my ability, but having my own business is diff-erent. Having many matters to think about, or problems  to solve, provides me with a real challenge at work.”

That’s the philosophy of Lee Borin, 30, who is not only the manager, but also the owner, of the Tropic Soup Restaurant.

Having arrived the Tropic Soup Restaurant, near Beng Trobeck Market, around 4pm, we walked around its tiled floor, which is bounded by lawn.

To a soundtrack of roman-tic music, we spent five minutes just looking around the restaurant, whose predom-inant colour is white. With its decorated tables, it looked  gorgeous.

“My restaurant opens every day from 4pm to 11pm, so I have to come in every day to check and control the process to ensure everything is perfect,’’ Lee Borin says.

“My focus is on quality, service and hygiene.”

Tropic Soup Restaurant, which serves only Khmer food, is at Nº 12, Street 456, Phnom Penh.

Lee Borin has a meeting with his staff every two weeks to discuss any problems or areas that need improvement.

It may not sound easy for one person to manage 23 staff, but Borin says:  “I don’t think it’s difficult; it’s simple for me as the restaurant’s manager and also its owner.

“To some extent, I just come in, sit here and look around. And, as the owner, I can be absent any time I need to be.”

Taking care of the business isn’t difficult for Lee Borin, because he has a bachelor of management from the National University of Management and a master of management from Australia’s Charles Sturt University.

The only difficulty is when there’s a problem at the restaurant that involves customers or his employees.

Lee Borin’s job is not only managing the restaurant, but also solving every problem that occurs there.

“Every day, I have to stay at the restaurant until 11pm, and I arrive home around 11:30pm,” he says.

“In fact, there are three shareholders: my two friends and me.

“The restaurant was designed by one of my friends, and we’ve tried hard to make it look different from other restaurants in the city.”

Hands-on Borin personally checks the goods in stock, prepares everything in the restaurant and pays his  staff’s salaries every month.

When he’s not busy with work, he’s thinking about his plans for the restaurant. Early next month, he plans to open for lunches. And, ultimately, he would like to open more branches of Tropic Soup.



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