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Our3Q – Muskovy Duck Restaurant, Cambodia

Sela – owner of a local restaurant which sells only one type of dish: the duck soup. A single portion of soup serves at least 2-3 people, so there is no point to go to the restaurant alone. They use healthy, local food and put great attention to environment protection as well as good working conditions for the staff.


Q1: What do you appreciate yourself in the business mainly for?

The way I see success is to have people around who will stay and grow together with me. Being successful is not about money. If you have money on your own, it’s not really a success. If the business grow but people are left behind without growing along, it’s not a success. For me success is to have my staff well paid, to have health insurance, to have some savings, to develop. If they decide to quit the job, they will still have some skills. If they want to open a new restaurant, I will support them, teach them. This is success for me. Let people grow and be independent.


Q2: What is the biggest challenge for you now?

The challenge is to convince Cambodian farmer to collaborate. They never think about the money they can earn here, they think about dollars they can gain in Thailand or Korea. A lot of people emigrate because they believe they can have better money somewhere else. I propose them new kind of business, which they have never done before: raising ducks. But it’s not easy to convince them, they are not used to raise or eat ducks and they believe that from raising ducks you will be poorer. I try to explain them that if they are already poor how come they will be poorer? Raising ducks is easy job and can bring easy money. It’s also healthy and good to eat ducks, not only chicken, pork, or beef.


Q3: What advice do you have for yourself in this situation?

We have a quite successful restaurant in the suburbs of Siem Reap. In few years I want to have a new location, help more farmers, who can raise ducks and grow vegetables for us and more clients, who can come, enjoy our food and socialize. If people stay together, talk to each other, there will be less violence, less divorces.


Would you like to add something more?

In our business there are 4 important values. The first is environment. We reuse everything. Even water. Tissue, anything that is compostable, we make compost from. We use leftover cooking oil to light lanterns. We build walls and tables from bottles and plastic. The water for the plants is pumped with our special bicycle: you exercise and water comes out so the plants are happy. The second value is our staff. I pay them fair salaries. Besides that I provide them accommodation, electricity, laundry soap, three meals per day, so they really can save some money for the future. I also teach them English. Number three are the suppliers. I give seeds to the vegetables suppliers and when the vegetables grow I buy them for higher price. The same with duck suppliers: I delivered baby ducks, they raise them and I buy for a good price. After a while they have their own baby ducks and they don’t need me anymore. And the last one are customers. They have to come in groups, with family or with friends, we don’t serve food for a single person. So they spend time together, they eat healthy food which come from Cambodian farmers, they know I treat the staff well. Everybody is satisfied and happy.


The questions were asked on our behalf by Anna and Andrea from How to (ex) change the world.


Siem Reap, Cambodia, 12nd December, 2015

ID: 016/100

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