In the United States, it is not difficult to get a taste of specialty Asian foods as there is a wide variety of choices in almost every corner. Aside from the usual restaurants specializing in Asian cuisine, great Asian food can also be found in food carts and food trucks parked on the street.
One type of street food that has been trending in the streets of New York is of Chinese origin. Many people are into the latest food trend that they even try to give it different names. Some call it a Chinese burrito while some call it a Chinese Dosa. But if you ask the founder of the eatery where you can buy it, he will simply call it a bing. This trending street food can be bought at Mr. Bing Eatery, which was founded by Brian Goldberg.
Bing for Breakfast
Bing is the shortened version of jianbing, which is a traditional savory Chinese crepe that is freshly made in a food cart and then folded up into a sandwich. It is one of China’s most popular street breakfast, with several vendors spread across the metropolitan neighborhood of China to serve their specialty from dawn through mid morning.
The traditional ingredients of jianbing include mung bean and wheat and grain flour crepe that is cooked in a circular cast iron grill. Eggs are then spread on the cooking crepe and other ingredients such as sesame seeds, scallions, hoisin sauce, crispy chilli paste, cilantro, and crunchy wontons are also added.
Aside from the traditional Beijing style, newer versions are also being offered at Mr. Bing’s Eatery, including bings with barbecued pork, Peking duck, and drunken chicken. Unlike in China where it is only available until mid-morning, Mr. Bing’s famous bings can be enjoyed anytime of the day, and even at night. That is why some even call it the Bing Mac, as a response to McDonald’s all day breakfast, only Chinese style.
Goldberg’s first encounter with the jianbing was when he studied in China 20 years ago. He used to live in a dorm and every morning, he would see an old lady on the back of a bicycle outside his dorm, making bings. Of course, he got to try it for breakfast before he went to school and that was how he got into it.
Needless to say, he missed the delicious Chinese street breakfast when he went back to the US. So, when he attended graduate school at Columbia University where he took business courses, he also took the opportunity to create a business plan for a bing business.
At that time, he learned about discounted cash flow and how to put a business plan together. The business name that he used in his plan was Goldberg Chinese Crepes and he got an A minus on his report.
Mr. Bing landed its biggest deal at the Urbanspace Vanderbilt upscale food hall, which is located near the Grand Central Terminal in New York City. They loved Goldberg’s concept, loved his bings, and so they offered him a spot. He had seven days to get ready and with the time that he had, he also had to incorporate a company, which he did.
Mr. Bing spent a year doing pop up stores and catering, as a way of marketing and building the bing brand. In January of 2017, it was given a permanent spot at Urbanspace Vanderbilt and is now expanding with a location in the Chelsea neighborhood. There will also be a food cart in the Flatiron district of Manhattan.
According to Goldberg, a restaurant business owner has to aim for a revenue of $1 million a year and 20% on the bottom line per unit. Fortunately, Mr. Bing’s expansion is receiving all the help that it can get as it recently received an SBA loan to help fund its expansion.
Goldberg also believed that the success story of Mr. Bing is also a reflection and a classic example of several food business trends these days, especially in terms of the rising of the fast and casual cuisine. People appreciate it and like it best when they buy food that is freshly made right in front of them.
Nowadays, food halls are becoming even more popular because they not only elevate the standard mall food court experience, they also create a sense of community. The food hall is a great location for businesses because it is a common facility that is why from an economic perspective, landing a spot in a food hall can be a great deal.
Mr. Bing’s success story has not ended yet as franchise requests have been sent to Goldberg from as far as South Africa, Dubai, London, South Korea, and the Philippines. Goldberg also believes in setting the benchmark higher to what they can do everyday and to make things move even faster for the business.