restaurant in Shanghai

China Paradigm 99: Meet the founder of the iconic 17 year old restaurant in Shanghai’s ex French concession

Matthieu David interviews Cotton Ding, Owner at Cottons restaurant and bar. The restaurant business is a tough business. That’s especially true when you run a restaurant in Shanghai, China. And more if we are talking about the last few months when people were under strict restrictions to socialize due to the coronavirus outbreak. How has Cotton Ding managed to stay in the industry for 17 years, what threats did her business face and what type of management does she promote? Let’s find out in this new China Paradigm podcast.

  • 0:15 Guest introduction
  • 2:58 Cottons – a brief history
  • 4:28 Cotton Ding’s professional history
  • 9:13 Size and scope of business
  • 11:08 The cost of doing business – managing rent and business hours
  • 16:20 Cottons team cost structure
  • 19:26 Managing the everyday inventory needs and inspiring people
  • 27:12 How has the coronavirus outbreak affected Cottons and what measures were taken to stay afloat?
  • 31:52 How has the delivery strategy changed due to the outbreak?
  • 34:19 What is it like to work with food delivery platforms?
  • 37:04 How has Cotton Ding handled the common threats to a restaurant staying in business?
  • 40:18 How was Cottons’ brand identity built?
  • 44:47 How the restaurant business takes a toll on free time
  • 47:23 What has inspired Cotton Ding in her entrepreneurial journey?
  • 49:50 What does Cotton Ding fight for?
  • 51:03 What does Cotton Ding do to stay up to date with business in China?
  • 54:08 What books about China would Cotton Ding recommend to foreigners?
  • 56:04 How does business after the outbreak look like for Cottons?
  • 57:20 Should Cotton Dings have extra time what other types of business would she pursue?
  • 58:57 What surprising success has Cotton Ding witnessed in China?
  • 1:00:22 What surprising failure has Cotton Ding witnessed in China?
  • 1:02:09 Outro

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China paradigm is a China business podcast sponsored by Daxue Consulting where we interview successful entrepreneurs about their businesses in China. You can access all available episodes from the China paradigm Youtube page.