Vietnam Time

5/14/2019 8:54:24 AM

Dubai-based café owner gives back to workers on 'new year'

All the employees received Dh530 in traditional red envelops at the end of the day.

As Chinese expats in the UAE marked their New Year celebrations with cultural shows, celebratory feasts and fireworks, a restaurant in Dubai's JLT neighbourhood resolved to mark the new year by giving back to their hard working staff and making them feel at home.

Food joint Vietnamese Foodies owner decided to work for their staff to celebrate Lunar New Year - or Tet Nguyen Dan as it is known in Vietnam. On Lunar New Year's Eve, February 4, the restaurant gave away the revenues of the day - minus food costs - to their team of 27 employees.

Lily Hoa Nguyen, owner and executive chef of Vietnamese Foodies, said the Lunar New Year is traditionally a time to give back. "Lunar New Year is one of the most important and popular holidays in Vietnam. On this day, the elders in the family usually give Bao Li Xi, or red envelopes, which contained a symbolic amount of money to the younger members of the family. We wanted to extend this tradition to our staff to thank them for all their hard work and wish them the best of health, success and happiness in this new year."

Not only did Hoa Nguyen give them red envelop gifts (the traditional way of marking the New Year in Vietnam), the restaurant also closed on Lunar New Year - February 5 - so that their employees can spend it with their friends and family.

Just a year old in the UAE dining scene, the Vietnamese food restaurant had a tremendous first year and the owner said it was largely due to the dedicated team that worked together with her. "Customers appreciate our team so we invited them to contribute by simply dining with us as they would normally do," she added.

Restaurant staff Rowena, who is a single mother, said: "We are very happy that Lily is sharing her restaurant's profit with us. I am choosing to save the money I get as I have to support my eight-year-old daughter back home."

Expressing her happiness, another staff member Trang, a soon-to-be Vietnamese bride, couldn't control her emotions. "When you are given money for the new year, that brings in luck for your new life, and for new adventures. The money that I will receive this year will help me a lot because I am getting married soon."

All the employees received Dh530 in traditional red envelops at the end of the day, containing the proceeds of the night equally divided among them.

Talking about their owner's other heartwarming gestures, the restaurant's staff also revealed that since they are all away from their home country and family members, Lily invites them all to her house where they have a small party, so that they feel at home.

This is the second year that the restaurant has undertaken the initiative.

Complied by VNF  
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