The Hoop Group

Sally and Sam Hooper,

Sally and Sam Hooper are the couple behind some of Christchurch’s coolest fusion restaurants, Pot Sticker Dumpling Bar and Sister Kong Bao Bar.

Find Sally and Sam at Sister Kong

123 Victoria Street, Christchurch Central

Known for their funky and slick fitouts, interesting menus with exciting drink lists to match, the Hoop Group’s projects are flawless, exciting and fresh.

We asked one half of the dynamic duo, Sally Hooper, what it took to find the perfect recipe for creating their unique spaces, and what the city can expect next from them.

Describe your business/food ethos in three words.

Fine-casual, innovative and bold.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given/from whom?

We have been lucky enough to be surrounded by many very helpful and successful people so it is hard to pick the best, but I’d have to say the three pieces that have stuck with us are:

Firstly from our parents who encouraged us to, “Follow you heart to do what you love, work hard and you’ll be happy in achieving anything you wish”. If you don’t do what you love it’s very hard to be the best.

The other was from [property developer] Lilly Cooper, a great mentor of ours, she said from the beginning: “Surround yourselves with the best people you can afford, don’t try be the jack of all trades, master what you are good at, crush it and delegate the rest.”

A quote from the late Steve Jobs also rings true to our attitude: “I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

Best dining experience you have ever had and why?

Favourite dining experience was at a Greek taverna on a little island called Hydra. It was super casual with a super simple and authentic Greek menu with only four items; really great, fun staff - and it was our honeymoon so it made it even better.

What grand plans do you have for your business, where do you want to be in five years?

More expansion into other hospitality concepts as well as research and investment in other avenues in the food industry - sustainability is important and a new focus for us so we are very excited for 2018.

What advice do you give to others wanting to start their own food business?

Making sure you have a robust and considered business plan, do your research and make sure that you identify your true point of difference. And most importantly: Follow your gut.