Editor’s Note – Brunei’s F&B Industry

From the Editor

Shaun Hoon

Happy Chinese New Year to all of our Chinese readers!

In this issue, we explore the most bustling, exciting and competitive industry in Brunei today: the Food & Beverage Industry (F&B Industry). We started by asking owners of some of the most successful restaurants and cafes, questions about their secret recipe: the recipe for their success.

Our aim was to make this a handbook for the industry players, one which would give them information; inspiration; and solutions to the issues which are being currently faced by everyone in the F&B business. We also wanted this issue to be a reference for the “outsiders”, meaning those who are eager to get a foot in the door of the industry. Just for the newcomers, we asked a few pivotal questions that are currently on top of many people’s minds: Should you consider pursuing your dream of opening a restaurant or café in what seems like a saturated market place? How do you craft out a unique market space that makes the competition irrelevant? Where are the opportunities?

Thanks to the Asian Food Channel, we had the privilege of asking one of the world’s most renowned chefs, Mr. Martin Yan, what makes his restaurants worldwide a resounding success? Yan provided a no frills answer: “attention to detail in all aspects; both front and back of house, food quality, presentation, serving, customer service, and clean up”. It is all about taking care of the fundamentals. We put the same question to our other contributor, Mr. Jason Yeoh, the popular AFC TV host, whose program explores the best eateries in South East Asia, and he offered quite a different perspective: “it’s related to how much love, kindness and joy that you sow into the food and your restaurant services.”  The point is, we collected more than a dozen answers in our endeavor to better understand what contributes to success in this industry; we received a varied range of answers that were insightful and at times contradictory however, they were all central to the running of a great restaurant. The messiness, creativity and diversity, we believe, are what make the F&B industry so fascinating.

Even if you are not directly involved in this industry, you will find this issue interesting because it will help you to learn about the virtue of hard work and dedication. If not, you will at least gain an understanding and an appreciation for what they do; and why they do it. After all, food is always at the centre of our lives, and to quote RBC’s GM Ahmad Husaini, “When we are happy, we celebrate with food; when we are sad, we still need to eat.”

In the present environment, the F&B business demands 100% commitment – and then there is still no guarantee of success. So if after reading through the features and interviews with the industry players you reach the conclusion that it is not worth the effort and risk to start your own restaurant or café, then congratulations! You may have just saved yourself a tremendous amount of time and money!

For the rest of you who are undeterred, we encourage you to go ahead and pursue your dream, but with equal amounts of caution and passion. After all, Brunei’s F&B industry will always have room for new ideas and hunger for serious and resilient people with new ideas who are committed for the long run.

Inspire Magazine will be hosting an F&B Forum at the Radisson Hotel on the 15th February 2017 to continue this interesting discussion. We encourage you to come to our event to participate, share and learn! Looking forward to seeing you soon!

This article was published in the Jan-Feb 2017 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!