Whereas proud Italians may balk at among the pizza toppings Yosuke Masuko affords, they’d have to understand his obsession with high quality management.
The 38-year-old Japanese expat is the founding father of one of the widespread pizza chains in Vietnam, Pizza 4Ps.
With six busy eating places within the nation’s three largest cities – Ho Chi Minh Metropolis (previously Saigon), Hanoi and Da Nang – it serves greater than three,000 clients every single day.
They flock to the retailers to strive such pizza delights as salmon miso cream, teriyaki hen, and ginger fried pork.
With extra conventional pizzas additionally out there, resembling margarita and Parma ham, such is Yosuke’s consideration to element that when the primary restaurant opened in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis in 2011, he would refuse to just accept cost for any pizzas that weren’t completely spherical.
And importing key substances from Italy, together with the flour and tomato sauce, he frightened that the imported Italian mozzarella wasn’t recent sufficient due to the lengthy cargo flight, and the actual fact he may solely get deliveries twice per week.
So Yosuke determined he would make his personal. Because the cheese did not exist in Vietnam he could not ask anybody regionally for assist, so as an alternative he discovered to make it himself by learning YouTube movies.
Then sad with the standard of milk he was capable of purchase in Vietnam, he purchased a farm and his personal cows.
Some may say it is a little too obsessive, however Yosuke says he would not have it some other means.
“The mission of our restaurant is ‘delivering wow, sharing happiness’,” he says. “To pursue our mission we consider to all the time transcend buyer expectations.”
Whereas neither the Japanese nor the Vietnamese are famend for his or her pizza consuming, Yosuke first began making them in 2004 when he put in a wood-fired pizza oven in his backyard in Tokyo.
“The expertise of constructing your personal pizza with pals each weekend made me realise that I could make individuals glad by serving good meals in a superb house,” he says.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t till seven years later that Yosuke determined to start out making pizza for a dwelling. By that point he was dwelling in Vietnam the place he labored for a Japanese funding agency.
Fascinated by Vietnam’s rising center class, he observed that world pizza chains resembling Pizza Hut and Domino’s had been opening up within the nation and proving widespread. As Vietnam had been a former French colony, the nation was used to bread merchandise, notably baguettes, so pizza did not show an excessive amount of of a leap for most individuals.
So with fond reminiscences of his personal pizza-making exploits Yosuke give up his job and used his $100,000 (£77,000) financial savings to open the primary department of Pizza 4Ps in central Ho Chi Minh Metropolis.
The 4Ps a part of the weird identify stands “for peace”. Yosuke explains: “Within the identify 4Ps is our want for internal peace and richness of hearts.”
Wanting again, Yosuke says that quitting his funding job was not a call he took frivolously.
“Every part was advantageous with my earlier job again then,” he says. “The corporate even supplied lodging, and my eldest daughter was three after we opened the primary restaurant.
“After all I used to be afraid that the restaurant wasn’t going to work, however on the identical time I felt like I wanted to take the problem.”
Fortunately for Yosuke his restaurant was a right away hit, and the corporate has grown steadily ever since.
From 10 staff to start with, it now has 700 full-time Vietnamese workers and 13 Japanese staff, 5 of whom have administration roles.
Yosuke says that when the primary restaurant opened, 90% of its clients had been Japanese expats, 5% Vietnamese and 5% different international nationals.
Immediately greater than 70% of diners are Vietnamese.
Along with making its personal cheese, Pizza 4Ps additionally arranges for Vietnamese farmers to develop it greens resembling rocket and lettuces. The corporate additionally sells a few of its cheese to accommodations and different eating places.
Yosuke says: “In 2016 we had a turnover of $7.5m, and in 2017 we count on $15m.”
Finally the goal is to drift the corporate on a inventory trade, and open branches in different international locations.
To assist run the enterprise Yosuke depends on his spouse Sanae, whom he met once they each labored for a similar Japanese funding fund.
Whereas Yosuke has the chief government function, Sanae takes care of staffing issues and advertising.
Slightly than decide Japanese or Vietnamese because the working language at Pizza 4Ps, workers are as an alternative inspired to speak to one another in English.
Yosuke admits that this will sometimes trigger communication issues, however says that cultural variations can generally be the most important drawback.
Sanae explains: “We discovered the hole of working tradition between Vietnamese and Japanese is the one that’s tough to bridge… however issues are enhancing.”
Cling Do, vp of Seedcom, a Vietnamese funding fund, says she wasn’t shocked that Pizza 4Ps has performed so properly.
“For the previous 5 years, because the financial system has grown, the center class has grown very quick as properly, and folks have simply been extra open-minded to the range of meals and drinks,” she says. “Pizza 4Ps affords a really distinctive flavour.”
Yosuke says he’s assured that the Vietnamese pizza market will proceed to develop, and he’s placing within the hours to make sure that Pizza 4Ps continues to be successful.
“I’m going to the workplace at 9am, and I do work 13 hours a day. I’m devoting my life to working.”