Kiwi native Shiz Scott is a key player at the heart of one of Hong Kong’s most forward-thinking and trend-leading restaurant groups, Maximal Concepts.
Her role has evolved from overseeing the project management of numerous venues with over 20 brands on their portfolio in her adopted hometown of Hong Kong, to flying all over the world doing the same for the group’s growing international presence.
In her spare time she enjoys going to the beach as well as making the most of Hong Kong’s stunning hiking trails with her fiancé, fellow Kiwi-in-Hong Kong Scottie whom she is a co-founder of Seven Brews Craft Beer Company which also launched in NZ this year, and their adorable rescue pup, Chewie.
We asked Shiz five questions on her career, and why Hong Kong?
Why did you decide to start your career / business in Hong Kong?
After selling the small café restaurant business I started and operated in my 20s in Christchurch, I was eager to learn more. I spent a few years in Hong Kong during my childhood and with the encouragement of my close friends and network, I knew I had to return and took an opportunity to join Maximal Concepts in 2012, which was just starting out.
The first day I joined, there were less than ten people working in the office. We had no locations of restaurants confirmed, no set departments, but I was ready to take on the challenge. Seven years on, we have over 500 employees. Being a part of the Maximal family, surrounded by like-minded creatives, developing an F&B group has been a very rewarding experience and we’re still growing.
What is it like doing business in Hong Kong, and what is the biggest challenge?
It’s all a challenge for sure! However, if your product is unique, with a smart business model and the best staff operating and executing with innovative PR/Marketing strategies, you would be on the right track to success in Hong Kong.
One of the great things about Maximal Concepts is that everything is in house from accounting, to Project Management, PR & Marketing, so we are able to streamline our tasks more efficiently, and any critical thinking and problem-solving decisions are made faster and with precision.
What is it that you like the most about working in Hong Kong?
I love everything about Hong Kong – the organised chaos walking around the streets and the fact that we are at one of the epicenters of food and beverage inspiration. It’s a very concentrated city but with a gathering of likeminded individuals from all around the world, so being able to build friendships and family here is really something special. Also, with a high concentration of the land being natural reserve, my weekends are lush with hiking and surfing. Yes, you can surf in Hong Kong!
What are the other main destinations you travel to?
With the global expansion of Maximal Concepts’ flagship restaurant Mott 32, we travel a lot to Vancouver and Las Vegas, where we have opened branches, and now make regular visits to Bangkok too, in preparation for this year’s opening. I spend a lot of time in Cathay Pacific lounges and planes, where thankfully we can continue to conduct business, catch up on calls, check emails and freshen up preflight in their beautifully designed spaces. When we have time we also schedule market research trips in different destinations to go hunting for gastronomic inspiration.
How often do you come back to NZ?
I try to get back to NZ as much as I can to visit family, but it normally ends up being twice a year. From this year however, I will be visiting a lot more often as my partner Scott and I have launched our craft beer company, Seven Brews, which is produced and now just starting to be sold in NZ. I am looking forward to clocking up the benefits of Cathay Pacific’s airmiles points and benefits with a lot of travel this year for sure. I try to help where I can with Scott and our business, so New Zealand will be seeing me more often in this year!