Kate Yip has navigated through the sometimes rough, mostly rewarding waters of entrepreneurship and management for more than 40 years, and within several business sectors. Along her journey, she always fostered the dream of owning and operating a restaurant that treated everyone who took a seat like friends and family, where comfort and quality went hand in hand.
Since taking over ownership of the Wimpy’s franchise in Bradford in 2014, Yip has been living out this dream, operating the venue with the kind of care she would her own home, and providing not only yummy food for the whole family, but a fun, vibrant and especially friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
Even through the dark days of COVID, those loyal customers continued to support Yip and Wimpy’s, the karmic repayment for all the hard work, dedication and superlative customer service doled lavishly by the energetic owner and her staff.
It was not smooth sailing for Yip. There was a reason the business was up for sale and that was because it was not doing well and was also suffering from a poor reputation – two factors that can bring a hasty end to a business in the restaurant industry.
Yip spent two years winning back customers one by one. These were people who had bad experiences with the restaurant and told her to her face that they would not return. But Yip was insistent that these folks, and the community as a whole, give her a chance to institute her way of operating into Wimpy’s. She and her partner worked between 12 and 14 hours a day, seven days a week, bringing all the experience and expertise of decades in the restaurant sector, and business management in general, to bear.
The successful turnaround that came to pass as based on what Yip calls her three ‘golden rules.’ First provide good food on a consistent basis. Both the ‘good’ and ‘consistent’ parts being crucial. One without the other will not garner you rave reviews on Yelp or any other form of word of mouth. Within that two-year time frame, patrons saw there was a different attitude at the top, and that this attitudinal shift focusing on the golden rules permeated the entire establishment, from the demeanor of the staff to the open and welcoming vibe that one gets from the moment they open the front door of the restaurant itself.
That said, even though the first couple of years were hard, Yip still holds the experience of owning and operating a restaurant in Bradford to be a far more positive and rewarding experience than other business ventures she was involved in while live in the GTA. She said the people are very friendly and that they care about each other, treating business owners as neighbours.
This aspect of BWG’s populace came to the fore during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has been a nightmare for most business sectors, but has played particular havoc with the food service industry. Customers continued to support the business by ordering take out, coming to the patio in droves when allowed, and even just communicating their moral support – they wanted Wimpy’s to survive and thrive as much as Yip and her partner do.
Since restrictions on inside dining have been relaxed, friends and neighbours have flocked to return to as normal a life as possible, including partaking in the breakfast; lunch, dinner and snacks offered by Wimpy’s as well as the amiable nature of the staff and the restaurant itself.
Community support has also come from officials and BWG Town Hall, as the Town’s economic staff were always open in communicating new programs and services they could offer all small business owners, including Yip, as well as allowing Wimpy’s to participate in the innovative new summer outdoor patio program, which was a masterful response to the COVID crisis, and proved to be a lifeline for many eateries such as Wimpy’. She was also able to access a $5,000 grant to help in these rough times for business improvements.
Operating a business in Bradford West Gwillimbury has already proved to be a providential success for Yip, and with both business and residential growth continuing to add to the community’s success and prosperity, she believes there really is no better place for her to build, work and grow.
Wimpy’s Diner is located at 305 Barrie St. https://wimpysdiner.ca/location/bradford-west-gwillimbury.