Meet Sumiao Chen
Founder and co-owner of Sumiao Hunan Kitchen
Sumiao was born and raised in Changsha, Hunan, China. She comes from a family of artisans; her father is a famous local painter and calligrapher and her mother owns a local art gallery. Originally trained in medicine and pharmaceuticals, holding both degrees of medical doctor and master of science in FDA Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Sumiao is known in the Boston Chinese community for her pharmaceutical research accomplishments, singing voice, and cooking skills. Her love of food led her to pursue her passion for the restaurant business from an early age. Over the last 14 years, she has invested in multiple restaurants in the Boston Metro Area. In 2014, she completed the certificate program at Le Cordon Bleu School of French Cooking and, in 2017, she opened Sumiao Hunan Kitchen in Kendall Square, Cambridge, which quickly became a Chinese food destination in the Boston area, serving high-end Hunan cuisine.
Q: What does your restaurant model look like these days in terms of what you’re offering, how you’ve shifted, and how patrons can support you?
A: Sumiao Hunan Kitchen has been designed as a mid-high scale full service restaurant and become a well known Hunan cuisine and Chinese gourmet destination in Boston Area since its grand opening in 2017. The biz model, brand and food concept have been very well established in (three) plus years (since). During the pandemic, it was forced to be a takeout-only restaurant since March 2020, and (about) 95% sales revenue are still from takeout since the re-open of dine-in service in July 2020 under the limitation of 40-60% seating capacity due to the state requirement, 6 “ table to table distance and low in coming dine in reservations and walk-ins. With the great support, encouragement, and inspiration from our patrons, community and government, the restaurant is able to survive financially and maintain 50% of its employmees. Because of the high commission from the 3rd party delivery partners, we have asked our patrons to order takeout from our website directly, which assists the restaurant to maintain the profitability, and we appreciate very much if they could continue to do that