“At JP Kitchen, I always felt it was hard for Billings to adapt to us,” Tang said. “I wanted to do more authentic Asian food and give Billings a taste of what maybe a lot of people hadn’t had before, but we always kind of hit a certain point of clientele.”
Closing one restaurant to open another one amid the pandemic isn’t easy, especially with the logistical challenges of switching dining styles.
Right now, the restaurant employs about eight workers, but Tang said he needs about 25 to 30 workers to keep up with the pace of the restaurant and its fast-casual operating style. But he’s been struggling to find them and few people are applying, so the restaurant is running limited hours Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“It’s been a pretty big change,” Tang said. “I’d say I’ve underestimated how big of a change, going from full-service restaurant and higher ticket prices to lower ticket prices but more volume.”
Closing JP Kitchen allowed Tang to step back and reassess what he wanted to do with the restaurant. Remodeling the space and preparing to open took some investment and cost more than he expected, but it’ll be a more viable business model in the future, he said.
The menu is simple, featuring only four chicken sandwiches, chicken tender combos and desserts. It also offers customers four sides including fried Brussels sprouts, mac and cheese, mashed sweet potatoes and coleslaw. The portions are larger than those at JP Kitchen, and is about right for the price range, Tang said. Food is prepared by hand before service starts but is cooked to order.