From banking to hospo – meet Queenie Lai –

From banking to hospo – meet Queenie Lai –

Claiming to have more eateries per capita than New York, Wellington has no shortage of restaurants and cafes to choose from. Fortunately, there are plenty of women-led restaurants in the capital which is fitting this week as we celebrate and support International Women’s Day, which was March 8 this year.

If you’re finding it hard to choose what to eat – you might want to do a DoorDash and support women-led businesses in the city!

If you’re after chicken waffles for breakfast, scrumptious burgers, mouth-watering milkshakes, and classic American-style cheesecakes, Wellington institution, Mama Brown, might be just the ticket.

Mama Brown is led by Queenie Lai, who swapped a career in banking and technology for hospitality. As General Manager, she is focused on making Mama Brown an inspiring place to work and delivering a standout experience for customers.

Queenie has been in hospitality for enough time to see the change that the pandemic and evolving dining preferences have brought to the industry. Technology has changed the way people dine – from how they make reservations and orders, through to where they eat. Given the last few tumultuous years for the industry, Queenie has observed how technology has helped restaurants like themselves survive through lockdowns.

“Mobile delivery apps such as DoorDash have been a game-changer for Mama Brown, and a lifesaver during the pandemic. They have enabled us to reach a broader audience and expand our reach beyond our physical location, meaning we can share Mama Brown’s goodies with more Wellingtonians.

“In my experience, using DoorDash has been fantastic – who doesn’t love having delicious food delivered right to their doorstep for a marathon Netflix session or a brekkie in bed after a fun Saturday night out, right?”

Having seen Mama Brown make it through the pandemic, Queenie and the team are excited to see what the next few years have in store.

When asked what tips she’d give to other women considering careers in hospitality, Queenie has some simple advice.

“Do not hesitate to speak up and demonstrate your capabilities. Always stay true to your values, be persistent, patient, and always be yourself.”