Sushi eating in China for profit

Feb 20, 2003, vol. 26, no. 4
By Diane Luckow

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Winnie Kwok (left) ate her way through as many as nine restaurants in one day last fall during a two-week eating binge in Shanghai, Beijing and two other Chinese cities.

It was all part of an eight-month SFU co-op workterm last year at Global Foods of Hong Kong.

“Our company was trying to penetrate into the China market with a new sushi restaurant, G. Sushi,” says Kwok, a fourth-year business student with a concentration in marketing and management science.

“We were trying the sushi because we wanted to know where the standards were in China - the quality of the rice they were using, the freshness of the fish, the ambience of the shops, their services, their training and the types of customers.” She discovered that the quality of sushi in many Chinese sushi restaurants is dismal.

Back in Hong Kong, Kwok also helped to design a marketing survey, then stood on street corners in the blazing heat to ask about people's restaurant eating habits.

“It was a physically demanding job, because the weather is so hot and there were so many people on the street, all in a hurry and all sweaty,” she recalls. “I was thrilled about the experience but I wouldn't want to do market research as a career.”

Still, Kwok enjoyed her workterm, which also included a five-day, company-sponsored vacation to Bangkok, Thailand with 20 other employees.

Last year, students participated in 153 SFU international co-op work placements, up from 98 the year before. Most placements were in Asia, with 61 in Japan and 57 in China, including Hong Kong. There were 12 placements in the U.S.

Students interested in pursuing international co-op work terms this summer should contact Tanya Behrisch, international coordinator for co-op education at SFU, behrisch or 604-291-5649.

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