Sharon Xu: TableCheck eyes market expansion in China

"We are bringing technology to one of the largest markets in the world," says TableCheck China's Business Development Manager.



Jun 12, 2023 - 3 min read

Sharon Xu: TableCheck eyes market expansion in China

Born in China, Sharon Xu's passion and curiosity for the world of hospitality brought her to Switzerland, where she pursued a Bachelor's degree in International Business in Hotel and Tourism Management at the prestigious César Ritz Colleges, a world-leading institution in hospitality, which incidentally was also named after the founder of Hotel Ritz in Paris.

Switzerland has a strong hospitality industry and is a hotspot for industry professionals including students like Sharon who dream of entering the hospitality workforce. After earning her Bachelor's degree, Sharon continued her Master's degree in International Business in Entrepreneurship which was followed by an internship with the F&B team at Beau Rivage, a five-star hotel in Geneva. She did a second internship with the sales team at Kirchhofer in Interlaken, a traditional resort town in Switzerland.

"In the past seven years, my experiences have always been related to hospitality," Sharon says.

After Switzerland, Sharon made plans to work in Thailand in a prestigious hotel property, but when the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt in the tourism industry, she changed her plans and returned to China, her native country.

Enter TableCheck which was looking for someone in China to help the company's market expansion strategy in East Asia. Sharon was first hired as a sales executive in 2021 to expand TableCheck's footprint in China. In March 2023, she was promoted to Business Development Manager.

Sharon explains why working at TableCheck made more sense for her career:

"I feel the company has provided me with a better platform to build my career path, It made me firmly believe that a good system can indeed improve the proficiency and convenience of restaurants."

Read the rest of our exclusive interview with Sharon below:

1. What do you enjoy most about working in sales and why did you choose to work at TableCheck?

Working in TableCheck satisfies all my job expectations as a Business manager.

Firstly, TableCheck allows me to engage with a diverse range of business partners and hotel groups. This exposure provides valuable insights into different markets, challenges, and opportunities, fostering continuous learning and growth. In sales, it often involves building long-term relationships with clients. Developing strong connections and trust with customers can be gratifying, as it enables me to become a trusted advisor and partner in my clients' success.

The complexity and strategic nature of sales can also be intellectually stimulating. I need to understand the client's unique needs, craft tailored solutions, and navigate complex sales processes. This dynamic environment can present exciting challenges that require problem-solving skills and strategic thinking.

Working at TableCheck, I have the opportunity to contribute directly to the growth and success of the client's businesses. Helping clients achieve their goals and witnessing the positive impact of our Table Management system (TMS) can be highly fulfilling.

Developing strong connections and trust with customers can be gratifying.

2. What strategies have been most successful in your TableCheck sales career?

My most successful sales strategies are building relationships, solution selling, continuous improvement, and team collaboration.

Firstly, I focus on developing strong relationships with the hotel operation teams and hotel owners. I need to understand their needs, solve their pains and provide personalized solutions. Secondly, instead of just pushing the product, I always emphasize how TableCheck products and features can solve the customer's problems or fulfill their needs – showcase the value and benefits they will gain. Thirdly, I must evaluate and analyze my performance to identify areas for improvement. This means adapting my strategies based on customer feedback, market trends, and evolving needs, and also learning from those failed cases.

Last, but not least, I foster collaboration among team members since everyone in our company plays a big role in a successful deal. For example, our IT team always upgrades and maintains our system, our consultants conduct the most professional training for our clients. Generous and strong support from the team is happening every day in every country.

Chinese food
There are more than 100,000 restaurants in Shanghai alone

3. Give us an overview of the Chinese restaurant industry. What makes it unique?

China's restaurant industry is a fascinating and unique blend of culinary traditions, flavors, and dining experiences. With a rich history spanning thousands of years, China offers a vast array of regional cuisines that showcase the country's cultural diversity. From the spicy and numbing dishes of Sichuan to the delicate and refined flavors of Cantonese cuisine, there is something to satisfy every palate.

What sets China's restaurant industry apart is its emphasis on fresh and seasonal ingredients. Many establishments take pride in sourcing local produce and showcasing the flavors of each season. Moreover, communal dining is an integral part of Chinese culture, where large groups gather around a table to share multiple dishes, fostering a sense of togetherness and conviviality.

In recent years, the industry has also embraced innovation and technology. From automated ordering systems to mobile payment options, restaurants in China are at the forefront of integrating modern conveniences into the dining experience. Online food delivery platforms have also become immensely popular, providing convenient access to a wide range of cuisines.

Overall, the combination of diverse regional flavors, a focus on fresh ingredients, communal dining customs, and technological advancements make China's restaurant industry one of a kind.

China's restaurant industry is a fascinating and unique blend of culinary traditions, flavors, and dining experiences.

4. What is TableCheck’s ambition in China?

TableCheck's biggest ambition is market expansion, and by entering China's thriving restaurant industry, our company is expanding and will further expand our customer base and bring technology to one of the largest restaurant markets in the world. We hope to increase cooperation with different hotel brands as well as single fine-dining and award-winning restaurants. Some of our clients include Ensue, which is no. 31 in Asia's 50 Best Restaurants this 2023; and also Kurogi Shanghai, which made it to China's prestigious Black Pearl Restaurant Guide.

In addition, enhancing the dining experience is also important. We want to make restaurant management more efficient and improve the dining experience for Chinese consumers, aligning to create a more connected dining experience.

Our ultimate goal is to connect restaurants with their customers more effectively, enhancing communication between staff members, and facilitating smoother operations overall.

Our ultimate goal is to connect restaurants with their customers more effectively.

5. What kind of leadership style do you use in managing your team?

A flexible and adaptive leadership style is effectively used to manage the team, where I can inspire and motivate team members to reach their full potential. This involves providing clear goals, offering support, and fostering open communication. Additionally, I’m open to feedback to encourage collaboration and empower team members to take ownership of their work. However, it's important to recognize that different situations may call for different leadership styles. I need to be able to adapt the approach based on the needs of the team and the project at hand, whether it's a more directive style for urgent tasks or a more participative style for fostering creativity and innovation.

Recognition and rewards also play a crucial role in maintaining motivation and performance. We acknowledge and appreciate the hard work and achievements of team members, whether it's through verbal recognition, public appreciation, or tangible rewards.

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