...........Dec 23rd, 2018: Me and one of my best customers-my awesome friend (I call her my older sister-exactly 12 years older than me- as we were born in the same month and same TIGER year) and her sweetest hubby @lan_restaurant . So, do you now know why I decide to follow this journey and why I am still here and why I still work so hard everyday @lan_restaurant ?The simple answer is because I am always happy, so I always look forward to each and every day @lan_restaurant .The best part of working at LAN is that I get to see my wonderful customers- the amazing people who have always been so nice and so kind to me each and every day. It is also very rewarding for me to see all my amazing customers smiling for the little and thoughtful things that I did for them. To my opinion, this is what life should be all about- LOVING and CARING for each other. When the world is so cruel and complicated, the simple gift of customer relationship-great friendship is within all of our hands. Let me just be grateful to my most wonderful customers who always make me HAPPY, they are the charming gardeners who make my soul blossom. One thing I have learned in life is that customer relationship-great friendship is always a sweet responsibility, NEVER an opportunity. "Friendship is a word, the very sight of which in print makes my heart warm". As I have always believed, the greatest gift of life is friendship, and I am feeling so grateful that I have received it @lan_restaurant .

............Customer: “Before I order, can I tell you something if you have a few minutes to spare?“

Me: “Of course, I would love to hear it”


Customer: “Well- I just want to tell you that I have great respect for you- the way you present yourself- the way you handle situations with difficult customers - the way you try to accommodate every customer- the way you offer me a seat when the restaurant is super busy and the way you offer me a glass of water to drink while I wait for my takeout order- the way you accommodate parents with babies and their strollers. In the end, it’s all about THE WAY YOU MAKE your customers FEEL. You always make me and my daughter feel truly valued -you always make us feel like coming home. This place and YOU- always make me smile long after I left. So thank you very much- I guess in the end, all good things come together in a “small package”- just like you- Small but Mighty ”


Her name is Jeneatha Oxley. She told me her name at the end of our conversation...


.......... At the end of his meal, Robert Lesser insisted in meeting the chef and our kitchen staffs. Robert stands in our kitchen, shakes hand with all of our kitchen staffs, tells them how impressed he was and compliment them for a couple of minutes on the awesome and fantastic experience his table had, as always.
We and our hard working team @ LAN would not be where we are today without our loyal and very generous customers like Robert and his beautiful family. These are just a few words they have shared with us.
“LAN- Everyone in my family, including my wife -"the hard- to-please person", always rave about your amazing Food. You and your husband and your whole Team Should Be Extremely Proud. Absolutely spot on! You are always on top of your game, fully committed to your passion and your dream, and producing the city’s best Vietnamese food. Your team was extremely professional, courteous, detailed, and conscientious every step of the way".
After hearing Robert's compliments on our work @ LAN, I have gotten teary-eyed. Thank you so much, for appreciating our dedication @ LAN.

..........Customer: “Do you accept American Express Cards? “

Me: “Sorry Sir! We accept Visa/Master Card/ Debit/ Cash. But not American Express Cards. We’re just a small business”

Customer: “Oh come on, NEVER underestimate yourself! Small business? We appreciate the wonderful food and service, and we could totally feel the love, the passion in this place. So, if you don’t mind, let me correct you: SMALL BUT MIGHTY”

P/S : My customer is actually right. I’m SMALL, but I’m MIGHTY. I always STAY STRONG, so I always make HATERS wonder how I’m still smiling every day @ LAN Restaurant.
Thank you for all the LOVE I have received @ LAN


.........Yesterday (Jan 2nd ,2019), I just raised a glass to the new year 2019 of the KINDNESS and LOVE- the two things we always need MOST in life. And this early morning, I just received this sweet message from one of our daily office lunches (Jeremy Vanseader has been ordering lunches every week @lan_restaurant since we first opened). Me and Jeremy-we never met in person, our little notes are the only way we usually communicate with each other. I guess, at the end, we don't need a hefty bank account to enjoy life's little luxuries. To me, these little notes are the simple way to make our lives richer everyday. I always take my time to notice all of the sweetest little things surrounding me. May you also be filled with Loving Kindness. May you find Peace and be truly happy.

Today, my first time customer approached me and said: “May I take a picture of you?”

I answered: “I am so sorry, you mean that you want me to take a picture for you , right? I would be more than happy to do that for you”


She said: “No, I mean that I want to take a picture of you —only if you don’t mind”.


I answered: “Of course, I don’t mind. But may I ask why do you want to take a picture of me?”


She said: “Because it is my first time here today, and I love the food very much. I want to take picture of you and the restaurant to show my friends about this beautiful place and the delicious food, and more than that, I want to show all of my friends about you and the people who work here- all great people with very happy energy and great passion for what you do. Such a happy experience for me. Thank you “


P/S: @ LAN Restaurant: I let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes. Where there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home. LAN Restaurant is my HOME, and my customers could certainly feel the harmony in it. Thank you very much !!!

...........Without COMMUNICATION , there is no RELATIONSHIP. Without RESPECT, there is no LOVE. Without TRUST, there is no reason to continue.” To me, I really think that "You can’t outsource relationship building". So, what we really apply @ LAN is a MINDSET SHIFT that makes us relevant to our consumers, a mindset shift--- from telling our personal stories--- to selling our Vietnamese Cuisine ---to building awesome relationships with our fantastic customers. The way we communicate with our customers and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our journey @ LAN. I believe that Little kindness and courtesies are very important. In our great relationships with our customers, the little things are always the biggest things for us. Today, I have to say goodbye to one of my awesome customers at LAN after 2.5 years (his name is  Nana) as he is moving to Montreal beginning of next week for a better job opportunity. I will miss him, but I am truly happy for him, and I wish him all the best for his new chapter of life!!! 

......... I just received a text message from my daddy yesterday (Jan 30th,19) and I would like to share with you all: "To my dearest daughter- the one and only one: I see that your life is getting happier, bigger and bigger @ LAN, as months go by. Whenever somebody tells me something about you, all I hear are amazing stories. Every time people talk about you, when you’re not around, I realize how proud they are of you, of everything that you have achieved so far.
Hearing these great things that you’ve done is like jazz to my ears. And I can’t help but smile. Everyday we talk, and my heart still beats faster every time I see you brimming with confidence. I am so happy to see the way you smile in the FaceTime camera, like you’ve won the lottery, like you have found a treasure. This life that you’re leading @ LAN seems to be perfectly good for you. And I am so so happy about it. I know you’ve changed a lot, but deep inside, I know you are still my sweet little girl, as always. You still have that compassionate, soft heart that cares for other people. I am always so proud of you, my little girl. In the end, I just want you to know that- daddy and mommy, and your grandmother will always be happy for you no matter where you stay, no matter where find yourself in this world. To my dearest daughter- daddy and mommy and your whole family back home are always with you-every step of your journey- and so as long as you are happy, that's all that matters- because as long as you are happy, I'm happy...Remember what I have always taught you since you were very little: Live a great life- Remember two things define you in life: Your PATIENCE when you have NOTHING, and your ATTITUDE when you have EVERYTHING. I love you...always "

I CRY...

I have found an abundance of sound advice, knowledge, and wonderful conversations in YOU- DADDY!!! I LOVE YOU, DADDY, as always!!!

............My story @lan_restaurant : When I was a little girl, my dad always taught me that: "In your life, only TWO things define you: 1/Your PATIENCE when you have NOTHING and 2/ your ATTITUDE when you have EVERYTHING". When I was a little girl, my grandmother always taught me that: "When life gives you a hundred reasons to CRY, show life you have a thousand reasons to SMILE - as SMILING is THE BEST reaction in all situations". When I was a little girl, my mom always taught me that : "No matter what you do in the future, please always remember: LOVE-COMPASSION -KINDNESS are always the keys to life". When I ask my kids what they want to be when they grow up, they wrote down : "I just want to be HAPPY ". Now, I’m a mother of three adorable kids, and this is what I have always taught them: "Let's love the world we live in and care for the earth and all living things. Let's appreciate every little thing on this earth and try to live in great harmony with it". Let us always be HAPPY, and let us meet each other @lan_restaurant with smile, for the smile is the beginning of LOVE.

............ What is the difference between "I like you" & "I Love you".
Beautifully answered by Buddha: "When you LIKE a flower, you just PLUCK it. But when you LOVE a flower, you WATER it daily".
My answer: "I LIKE my purse, I LIKE my princess dress, I LIKE my watch, I LIKE my necklace...I'm just a girl-so I like every little thing that every girl wants...but I LOVE my family-I LOVE my hometown HÀ NỘI-and I LOVE LAN"
One who understands this, understands my life. Welcome to my life @LAN

........ Tonight, my topic will be : "Be a source of positivity and happiness in the lives of others, by letting others see the good that you see in them. Your life and theirs will be better for the effort".
We are open today at 5pm and our first customer came at 5:05pm (he said his name is Jimmy). When he walked in and first saw me, he said: "You remember me?-the old man who came to the restaurant the other day, you took my order of beef noodle soup, but then you were too busy serving other customers, so I was very mad at you and I left before my soup came?"
I said: "Oh of course, I remember you- and before you even mention your story, I was about to say sorry to your for the last time. I am very sorry for your first unhappy experience with us, but I have tried my very best". Jimmy said : "oh No ,No- my dear- you don't have to say sorry to me. I have thought a lot about my reaction last time and Tonight, I come back, because I truly want to say sorry to you in person, as you don't deserve to be mistreated by anyone. And secondly, as you have a very good reputation in the hood, I also want to make sure you know how to cook your soup". And when I brought out his Noodle Soup, he slurped the soup and said : "Oh man, that truly explains your reputation---you sure know how to cook the soup, the broth is sooo good. And do you know what's even better than the soup- it's that I can't believe I get to enjoy my most delicious soup with a very young and and most beautiful girl in the prettiest pink dress that I have even seen. I could tell right away with my first impression that you have a very big, and kind heart. Have anyone ever told you that you also have a beautiful smile and an amazing positive energy that makes the people around you so happy?"
Was that true what he said about me? Absolutely NOT. But he did made it clear that I was the most beautiful girl there to him, and in that moment, it sounds so simple, but really makes my day!!!
Sometimes, with constant pressure from social media or with your super-busy life, it's pretty easy to forget how amazing each of us truly are. At the end, it's the small things that count. Talk really is CHEAP, the nicest gift you may be able to give to someone is a few positive WORDS. So trust me, don't forget to keep saying genuine compliments daily to your boyfriend, girlfriend, friends, co-workers, family members, or sometimes even strangers. Giving a genuine compliment requires us to look for THE GOOD IN OTHERS. In doing so, we also start to see THE GOOD IN OURSELVES. Then, we will realize that we are all on the same journey together and that each of us has value to share with the world. Always remember "Compliments make the world go 'round". So, please be a source of positivity and happiness in the lives of others. Trust me, everything you give will come back to you many times over.

...........We are so busy @lan_restaurant ,so I have been working everyday (11 hours per day) for the last 5 weeks. So, if you ask me how I feel, my answer will be: Of course, I am so tired and exhausted. But at the end of everyday, I always look forward very much to the next day, and it's all because of my wonderful customers. Tonight, I'm introducing to you, another best customer of mine and her awesome friends. To get the best shot, I want to sit on the chair right next to Susan but she insisted me sitting on her lap. I have been very lucky in my new journey at LAN, as it is my everyday that I find people who will love me and support me in everything that I do. At the end of the meal, Susan said to me: "Thank you LAN, for everything, it is always my greatest pleasure coming here to see you and to enjoy your amazing food". Thank you Susan, for truly making me feel like I am HOME-as I really think of you- as a part of my family in Toronto. Based on my experience @lan_restaurant , to build up true relationships with your customers and to have best customers, you have to give REAL SERVICE. And to give REAL SERVICE, you must ADD something which CANNOT be bought or measured with money, and that is LOVE, SINCERITY and INTEGRITY. Do you agree with me?

@lan_restaurant: Be Your Customers’ Best Friend.
@lan_restaurant: It's about the quality of your customers, not just
the quantity.
@lan_restaurant: the fact is treating customers like friends means
more than good marketing. It’s even more than just good service.
Treating customers like friends is HARD WORK, just like real
friendships. In business, the common goal is to make money, so it is
tempting to focus on that. @lan_restaurant: the best generalization
about making money in the long run is that it comes from
building GREAT RELATIONSHIPS with customers so they keep
coming back for more, during good times and bad. If you ask any successful person, whether in business or
politics, you will hear over and over again, “It’s all about
relationships” and, in business, relationships bring great value.

WE LOVE our customers, as we have THE BEST customers at
LAN. Do you want to know why???

WE LOVE our customers because we can talk to them for hours
about their personal lives. It makes work at LAN, not feel like
work at all and that is just an AWESOME feeling! WE LOVE our customers because they love us back! WE LOVE our customers because they appreciate us so much! WE LOVE our customers because of how much of themselves
they share with me. WE get so many stories and photos from
our best customers that invite us into their lives, it makes what
WE do @ LAN feel so personal! As a small family business with very small marketing budget,
WE LOVE our customers because word of mouth is powerful-
and they do the marketing for us! Nothing makes US happier than being able to greet our
customers by name. WE TRULY think of our customers as
extended family and LOVE them for allowing US to build these
kind of memorable relationships with them! Most importantly,
WE LOVE our customers because we wouldn’t be here without
them and their amazing support!!!

..............A review by Alam-It truly me melts my heart:

"My friends and I were in the east end a few weeks ago playing a round of Bocce, and one of us found LAN through Google. They had the most amazing reviews, so we walked in on a Saturday evening and of course, due to popularity and time we went, there was a long line up. For our group of 6, we were told we needed to wait about 45 minutes. We had no problem hitting up a bar next door for a beer while we waited for their call.
And boy, and I glad we actually went back when they called. First off, Lan is THE SWEETEST person I have met in a long time. Being such a KIND SOUL as a business owner made the experience all the more worthwhile. Secondly, everyone from Lan who had a point of interaction with us were sooo nice, big smiles and excellent service.
The food was soo amazing. Hands down THE BEST spring rolls I've had in Toronto. The dishes were unique but familiar enough that you wanted to try a different version of a Vietnamese dish you know and love.
As we were paying, I got a chance to talk with LAN. She shared her family's story about their journey to Canada, and how they established their place among the row of several failed restaurants in the neighbourhood. She lives her life by a simple and meaningful quote her father shared with her : "HAVE COURAGE AND BE KIND" (thank you Lan for sharing that with me by the way) and shares her infectious smile with all her customers. When you see LAN, the bright eyed, energy filled owner, make sure to say hi and take a few minutes to chat with her.
I can't wait to come back and try something new at your establishment LAN"