Uchi Restaurant Group, known for its award-winning restaurants, Uchi in Austin, Dallas, and Houston, Uchiko in Austin, and the just opened Top Knot in Dallas, announced they have renamed their restaurant holding company and will now be known as Hai Hospitality. Hai is a Japanese word, which in its simplest translation means, “Yes,” “I agree,” or “heard.”
In conjunction with the announcement, Hai Hospitality is excited to launch its new website. There you will find information about each restaurant, insights about Hai staff and restaurant teams, and original content and imagery. The site will house the group’s first job board with all of Hai’s open positions collected in one place. In addition to monthly staff stories, an online retail shop coming soon, and company-wide events, the Hai Times blog will act as a platform for staff to preserve and promote what makes them unique. The goal of the blog is show readers what it is like to work at Hai, while also offering Hai’s unique take on food, drink, and design.
John Baydale, president of Uchi and now Hai Hospitality, is excited about this next level in the evolution of the group. “From chefs and cooks on the line and in the kitchen, to servers, hosts, and managers, answering ‘Hai’ is a hallmark of unity amongst our group,” Baydale comments. “This new name perfectly expresses our respect for the food, our guests, our culture, and the whole experience and how we strive to take it to that next level.”
Uchi founding executive chef and Hai chef/owner Tyson Cole on how “Hai” became a part of the Uchi vernacular:
“Years of working alongside Japanese sushi chefs, not only did I learn the language, I loved the respect they showed one another. Answering questions with ‘hai’ isn’t just a ‘yes’, it really means ‘heard,’” he says. “Saying heard is much more impactful, in my view, than simply saying yes. The idea that you are taking the simple act of answering a question to another level of respect is powerful. Over the years staff all began to respond ‘hai,’ it just happened organically company wide, so this feels like a natural progression for us.”
Brand and creative director Sam Martin notes: "As a family of restaurants, we all share the same core values and culture, but as we grow and introduce new concepts, it becomes more important for each individual restaurant to build its own identity and voice alongside those shared values. In many ways, Hai Hospitality gives us permission to not only be Uchi in Austin. We plan to have a lot of fun with that."
Hai Hospitality will open a new concept on 2115 S. Lamar in Austin in the next 12 to 18 months.