An inexpensive Chinese food buffet is commonplace in all parts of the United States, especially in a city with the international scope of New York City. That means that making an impact with hungry audiences can be difficult, especially considering the stereotypical remarks that come with respect to the making of inexpensive Chinese food.
On Howard Street, business partners Selwyn Chan and Ivy Tsang re-imagined a place that used to offer a buffet for just $5 to its customers. What eventually emerged was a new take on traditional diners that emphasized the presence of both booths and seats at a counter.
This was something that required a good deal of imagination, since the building was designed through the prism of Chinese architecture. From beginning to end, the process for this transformation took approximately nine months. However, all of that effort appears to have paid off off.
That’s because the Nickel & Diner offers a much more eye-catching presence, with bold colors and specific design choices that seemingly draw patrons inside. Though the building is set up to feed 100 people at a time, the roominess that exudes the entire area helps it avoid the image of being a high-volume eatery. For example, each booth can fit from four to six people each.
While customers can go with a basic egg sandwich, others can try the salmon, lox and avocado sandwich. Either that, or they can sit at the coffee bar. Regardless of the choice, there’s no question that the once-dark atmosphere that pervaded the Chinese buffet has been replaced by a bright and appealing addition to its neighborhood.
The focus on making it visually appealing was a byproduct of current marketing considerations. Primarily, the emphasis on using social media to garner greater attention in the least expensive way.