As a young girl, Ha dreamed of becoming a female soldier. Life had other plans as she is now the Co-founder and Manager of Tay Ta restaurant in Tay Ho with the mission to bridge the Vietnamese and foreigner community.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I grew up in a farming family. After high school, I wasn’t able to go to university so I was hired as a labourer. I then worked in the garment industry, but due to my poor health at the time, I returned home to Hanoi. That’s how I got into the hospitality industry. Over the next six years, I worked in restaurants, cafes, bars, and small pubs and then got married. That’s where I discovered my passion and enthusiasm for the service industry and I knew I wanted to one day open my own restaurant.
I knew I needed to learn English but it was difficult. Even though I worked in high-class restaurants, I wasn’t allowed to chat with customers. I started to learn English from the most basic words. Outside of work I would try and practise English with foreigners and gradually, my speaking ability improved!
When did you get into the business?
I always wanted to be my own boss and so my brother and I opened Tay Ta Restaurant in 2016. One of my goals was to connect foreigners and Vietnamese and the other is to while another is to shift community perceptions of the bar industry. The majority of my customers are extremely courteous and I love listening to them and exchanging opinions on a variety of life issues.
What do you find may be difficult for women in this industry? What difficulties have you gone through to develop into who you are today?
I’ve faced many challenges as a married woman in the hospitality industry running a bar. Because of the nature of my work, I often work from 2:00 PM-2:00 AM. Then I need to balance housework, my child and traditions. I was still working late at nine months pregnant! So many people would ask about me. Even after my baby was born, I missed being at the restaurant. It’s taken some time but I have a much healthier lifestyle now. I’ve learned how to schedule my time wisely with both family and work.
As a woman in the industry, I can also face problems because some customers get a little too inebriated and unable to manage their behaviour. In such situations, I must always be skilled to maintain my customers as well as to assist them in understanding the problem and recognising their fault.
Who is someone who inspires you?
My mother and mother-in-law are formidable women who are always available for advice.
I feel very privileged to have such strong women supporting me.
Also, I’m confident I’m able to do the work I do because my husband supports me. He is the driving force behind me overcoming all of life’s challenges, including daring to venture into business despite my shyness. I know I’m very lucky to have a man who encourages me to work and understands my passion.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
When it comes to women helping one another, I believe it is important because women should be encouraged to support one another. I want to give a message to young women:
“Even in life, there are many challenges, but always be calm and determined. Don’t be afraid to try something new because you’re afraid it won’t work. I used to be insecure, and while I don’t consider myself particularly good, I have had some success. I own a restaurant and assist many friends with their businesses. If you are determined to do something, do it. Even if we fail, we will stand up there”.