Interview Vincent Boccara – W for Wok

January 31, 2016

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Vincent: I’m Vincent Boccara, CEO of W for Wok, a fast-food restaurant specialized in Asian food in Paris. The reason why I started this business in the first place is because I’m fond of Asia and especially Asian food. My wife and my associate are Asian as well! I found inspiration for my meals while travelling around Asia.

Tell us about what you do and your products

V: First of all, we chose to use French product for the meat, the fish and the vegetables. We wanted high quality products, with affordable prices. However, we import a lot from Asia for noodles and rice. But I’m trying my best to use these products in a creative way. All the salsas, the marinades and the seasonings are home made.

Vincent and his associate, Nghia

And what are your main day to day challenges ?

We decided, from the very beginning, to always innovate. We’re always looking for new recipes. Of course, we rely a lot on classics such as spring rolls or pad Thaï. But we’re always trying to creative new recipes, always adding something original to classic recipes. Our goal is to always offer something new, something to attract new customers who want to eat differently from other Wok restaurants, and of course keeping our classics as good as before to satisfy our most loyal clientele.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

V: Satisfying my clients is the best reward for me, but there are some clients’ opinions that are more rewarding than others. For instance, I’m especially happy when Asian clients are satisfied. I take that as an honor because I succeeded in touching the specialists of this kind of food (laughs). I also am very touched when I receive compliments from mothers and grandmothers. They are the ones who cooked for us for 30/40/50 years and hearing from them that I make great food is the best compliment I could ever receive.

W for Wok dream team of cooks : Sung, Denis and Tony

How do you use social media? How do you spread the word about your business?

V: It begins the same way for everybody; I asked my relatives and their friends to like the Facebook page of “W for Wok”. Word of mouth, that’s the easiest way to make people talking about why when you’re a small business. As for sharing what I do on social medias, I almost exclusively use Facebook. I’m not a fan of Twitter and I’m never connected to it. I post pictures of my meals, original creations and some memes sometimes. My wife often tells me to drop my phone, but what can I do about it, I’m kind of working when I’m posting on Facebook (laughs). And as for Instagram, I’m not really using it for the restaurant, I’m just scrolling on profiles and liking some pictures from my friends. But I know that could be good for the restaurant to use it a little bit more often.

Red rice with tomatos and shrimps, spicy !

What can you tell us about your Smiirl Counter?

V: I first saw the counter in a burger restaurant. I found the idea crazily awesome and I knew I wanted one the moment I saw it. But I forgot to ask the name so I had to find it myself on the internet, and after days of research I finally stumbled across the Smiirl website. I told myself “300€? Well, f*ck it I’m buying one of these!” and I will never regret this purchase!

At first, I displayed it behind the bar and a client told me it was not visible enough, and that is was a shame. I needed to display it a little bit more so I hung it on the wall with some Velcro and now people can see it more easily. Some of my clients ask me questions about it, the most common one being: “Is it really automatic?” So when I hear that I invite them to test the counter by liking my page and they’re immediately convinced. I think the product could be a little bit more interactive by adding some options, like making it moving once or twice every 10 minutes to show customers that it is really automatic. But I know there’s some development behind it and I’m not claiming myself and expert in the domain (laughs).

A last word?

I want to tell a last word with a picture :

On the cap, you can see some symbols in Thai. It says "KHUN THAI TAMDAÏ", which is the equivalent of Obama's "Yes we can". But I like to give it another translation, which would be "Thai, we can do it!". At W for Wok, it's just like in Thaïland : We can do it.