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'We pushed ourselves in ways we wouldn’t have otherwise'

'Return Journeys' asks businesses where they have been during Covid and where they are going.

Family is at the heart of many businesses, and none more so than Wudon on Great Western Road.

When the world was stopped by the pandemic last year, sisters Jennie and Winnie Wu were forced to change what they do.

But family loyalties and ties helped focus efforts on the challenges ahead.

Jennie, 45, said: “We were almost forced to change - either we close completely during lockdown or we adapt.

“And we could adapt as a family business, and we just did it between us.

“We just focused on what we could do, which was open for takeaway.

“We always had that but it was never the busiest part of the business - it was mostly for sitting in and dining in.

“It gave us the opportunity to push takeaway and it worked really well.”

At the start of lockdown there were three sisters, but Anna and her partner seized an opportunity and set up business in Hyndland.

'Great opportunity'

Winnie, 35, explains: “We opened Wudon with three sisters originally - and then in lockdown we lost a sister in a good sense. 

“She went off to do her own venture. Now it is just me and Jennie.

“And that is another change we have to adapt to through lockdown.

“But it was a great opportunity for my sister to go off and do her own thing.”

Winnie and Jennie set up Wudon with sister Anna 12 years ago.
Winnie and Jennie set up Wudon with sister Anna 12 years ago.

The Wu sisters grew up with the family restaurant in Baljaffray in Bearsden.

Their parents gave them a love of food and business and the rest is history.

The pan-Asian offering and fusion of Eastern flavours from Japan, China and Thailand has been a big hit with customers.

But the last 14 months has tested their skills - and  brought out new ones.

We opened Wudon with three sisters originally - and then in lockdown we lost a sister in a good sense

Winnie Wu

The sisters reached out and engaged with their customers in new ways.

Jennie: “We used social media and posts to give people some fun over lockdown.

“We made videos of what we would be cooking ourselves and how to make some of the dishes that we liked at Wudon.

“We have learned a lot and advertised and pushed ourselves in different ways that we wouldn’t have done otherwise.

Coming back from a different place,
Coming back from a different place,

“People know us in the business - our customers are almost family and they know what we do.

“People want to know that we are okay, and by going on social media we are saying that we are fine and this is how we are entertaining ourselves and cooking for ourselves at the weekend.”

The business hopes it has weathered the worst of the storm. Apart from Anna’s desparture, there were no staff losses.

Furlough and government help were vital supports when the business went into full shut-down last year.

The business is now in a good place to be whatever its customers want. 

Wudon is at 535 Great Western Road
Wudon is at 535 Great Western Road

However, the hope is that good news on lowering Glasgow’s restrictions comes soon.

Winnie said:  “We are hoping it’s going to be a good summer and it’s going to be busy.

“And we need people back inside - because this is Scotland and it can rain any minute.”

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