I attended an event organised by SIM this year - it is a dinner which comes with an experience sharing by the founder of Pu Tien (a Chinese restaurant). As he spoke in Mandarin, he had his staff to translate it into English for him. Actually most of us are bilingual, but it only shows his consideration and being well prepared. He told us that he knows how to cook but started the eatery business without experience in the food industry. He has experience in some other business and venture into eatery business out of homesickness – cook and share Pu Tien food with folks from his home town and introduce it to Singaporean at the same time.
After his restaurant business sort of gotten stable after 3 years – he was just doing fine but not making big bucks. His friend advised him to think big. His original place was of coffee shop setting. He renovated and upgraded it to charge higher price for his food.
Then MediaCorp interviewed him and his restaurant becomes well know 'overnight'. But, trouble started – there are lots of copy cats – using the same name (Pu Tien) and offering the same food menu.
A friend advised him to do something as this 'road block' would make his future rocky, just as his profit was going up. He could take the legal action, but it is costly. He decided to think BIG again and embarked on an expansion program, so his customers can get to him all over S’pore. Currently, he has 7 restaurants in S’pore and 1 in Indonesian.
He was very passionate sharing his experience with us and it is motivational as he strives on in spite of all the hardship. He told us he did not even know where get his food supply initially (he is from China and don’t know the local well). He has no idea where to set up his eatery and decided on Kitchen Road area because this is where the initial immigrants from Pu Tien resided in S’pore. He was told his location choice is not favourable. But against all odds, he succeeded in building his restaurant empire. This pioneer place which kick starts his success is still around. We had our dinner there that night.
SIM organised a wide range of interesting programs & events. For those who are interested, do take a look at her website. It is open to public too, though the fee may cost slightly more.