In the “VIP Classroom Series”, we deconstruct Malaysia’s leading personalities and learn their strategies, tips and secrets to success. We get close and intimate to ask questions you’ve always wanted to (or never thought of) — role models, daily routines, favourite books, even their favourite cereal. VIP Classroom is part of the Guruship.
In our inaugural VIP Classroom Series, our VIP is none other than Benjamin Yong, Founder & Chief Eating Officer (CEO( of The BIG Group. If you don’t know, he’s the man behind your favourite restaurants & cafes — Ben’s, Plan b, Ben’s General Food Store, Ben’s Independent Grocer and many more. We held this session on 12th January in Ben's Publika.
10 things Ben said:
1. My 5 core principles are Integrity, Honesty, Value Proposition, People & Relationships
2. My favoruite food is nasi lemak because like life, it's simple. Life should be simple.
3. I check social media for feedback from customers as well as ideas on cuisines and recipes.
4. The BIG experience is important. I select the material and design of the cafes myself.
5. Diversifying our portfolio is important. As you know, we opened grocery store in addition to expanding our F&B. In the current economic situation, retail has went down 18% whereas groceries has increased 25%. So, we're doing okay lah.
6. I've learned a lot from our social enterprise, Project B. [In collaboration with Dignity For Children (DFC) foundation with support from Berjaya Cares Foundation and The BIG Group.] Leo Burnett is doing the marketing. What I learn is even if you have the big boys, it doesn't guarantee success.
7. Yes, it's important to balance between being hands-on and empowering your people. Making mistakes is important, that's one way you really learn. But I don't believe empowerment is making the same mistakes. I install CCTV in my cafes for auditing purposes.
8. When I was younger, I would sacrifice time for family and friends for work. But I won't do it now. I mean I'd bring a stack of work paper to read but I probably won't even read them. I'd rather spend a whole day with my daughter.
9. We're launching "Food Lab" to train foodpreneurs. Giving internships and opportunities for young people interested in culinary.
10. In the current economic condition, we're looking at pricing. We can sell nasi lemak at RM 5 but we don't want to compromise on the [BIG] experience. That's our value proposition.
We are youth platform aiming to shape the future, one mind at a time.