E. John Banquil, Jr.
President & CEO
Ling & Louie�s Restaurants
PHOENIX, AZ, FOUNDED 2008
Industry � Food and Beverage/Hospitality
E. John Banquil Jr. started with Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill in 2008 as an assistant general manager. Over the next decade, he worked in several roles within the company, including general manager and director of brand development, helping the brand and company portfolio grow.
In 2019, Banquil Jr. bought the brand from the original owner, rebranding and modernizing the company to reach a broader audience while navigating the pandemic. “In just three years, we have been able to grow sales revenues by over 40% and set the company up for future growth,” Banquil Jr. said.
Ling & Louie’s Restaurants is the management company for three Asian restaurant brands: Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill, Ling’s Wok Shop, and Ghost Street Asian Taqueria.
Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill serves modern Asian cuisine with an American flair, using traditional Asian cooking techniques and ingredients in nontraditional ways to create flavors that appeal to all tastes. Ghost Street Asian Taqueria is a virtual restaurant located within Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill, specializing in Asian-inspired street tacos. Ling’s Wok Shop is the company’s newest innovation, combining modern Asian cuisine in a fast-casual setting.
Giving back is an important part of Banquil Jr.’s work, he said, through mentoring employees and also filling a niche in the community. “Not only are restaurants gathering places for local neighborhoods and communities, restaurants have the power to initiate change in those communities,” he said. “We have established several programs in our restaurants to constantly give back to local nonprofits, schools, and local sports teams. The hope is to instill a sense of pride from our teams and give them a place where they can feel proud to work.”
Ling & Louie’s Restaurants has three focuses in the next few years. First, grow the Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill brand through corporate locations in the Phoenix area and franchise growth in Idaho. Second, grow the Ling’s Wok Shop brand through corporate locations in the Phoenix area and develop franchise partnerships. Third, build a physical Ghost Street Asian Taqueria restaurant in the Phoenix area.
“As leaders, we often have the pleasure of inspiring those within our companies, but don’t often enough take the opportunities to connect with those outside of our companies,” Banquil Jr. said. “I’d like to invest in others and create opportunities in other talented individuals outside of my business, helping them reach their full potential as others have helped me.”
As fun and satisfying as my career has been, I'm a family man at heart. As odd as it sounds, my role as Owner, President, and CEO has given me more time to spend with my family, watching my boys play football, soccer, and lacrosse regularly. This is something I was never able to do when they were younger and nothing feels better than being there for them.