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Clay Pot House, San Francisco

“Bay Area restaurant rebounds after fire”

The Clay Pot House (formerly known as Taishan Café) is a Chinese restaurant specialized in authentic dishes originating from Taishan City, Guandong Province, China. The business started in Sacramento in 2003 and then relocated to San Francisco in 2012. Taishan City is the hometown to one of the earliest ethnic groups of Chinese immigrants in San Francisco, as well as in North America. It’s estimated that there’re about 170,000 Chinese American with Taishan origin in the San Francisco Bay Area.

On November 6, 2013, a fire broke out in a building next door to Taishan Café causing significant damage to the premises above. The café was forced to close for an unknown period of time. Following the café’s closure, the Liu’s landlord notified them that their commercial lease would be terminated based on an unreasonable clause stipulated in the agreement. With the threat of a terminated lease the couple needed help re-locating their restaurant.

In order to determine if the Liu’s landlord could legitimately terminate their lease agreement, SBDC Business Advisor, Lawrence Liu referred them to pro-bono legal resources for assistance, where he was also able to help with translating needs. With hopes of re-locating, the Liu’s were able to find a restaurant nearby for sale, but were short for working capital. . However, after working on the financial projections of the new restaurant with them, Business Advisor Lawrence Liu was confident that their future business, with a larger kitchen and more seating, would be able to generate enough revenue to support the loan they needed.

Lawrence worked with the lender to obtain a greater loan amount, and as of April, 2014 that loan was granted and accepted. As a result, The Clay Pot House was opened on May 5, 2014. It is currently employing an 11 man staff, an increase of four employees from the previous operation. Based on revenue figures from May and June, sales have also increased by 30%.

“[The SFSBDC] has really helped us a lot during our hard time, both business wise and emotion wise. Our business advisor also played a critical role in helping us obtain a $50,000 business loan.”

Clay Pot House
CEO: Cai Yun and Henry Lui
San Francisco, CA