Interview with Normuizzah Hj Samat

normui1

normui2

The F&B market in Brunei seems to be over saturated. For example, here in Citis Square where Wing-it! is located there are over 10 eating places including well known franchises like Burger King, Fish & Co and Gloria Jeans Café, to name a few. However, business at Wing-it seems to be thriving since you’ve opened! What gave you the confidence to start a restaurant during this trying economic period?
Before opening this restaurant we operated from home as an online business for three years. As we had regular sales during that period, we realised that there was a demand for the food that we were selling and we had a firm belief in what we were doing. Before we opened, there were no restaurants which offered the same food options as Wing-it!. This provided a great deal of confidence and when we were presented with the opportunity to open, we seized it.

Most restaurants in Brunei focus on giving more menu options to the customers. For example, it is quite common to see restaurants offering a mix of different cuisines to cater to everybody. Go to any Japanese restaurant and you’ll be amazed by the size of the menu booklet. But you seem to be taking the innovative approach by going in the opposite direction – you are offering chicken wings as the main item on your menu. Why?
Initially before we opened, I thought our menu was too limited. But the menu’s simplicity is an advantage for us. Fewer options means less hassle in preparing the food. We don’t have a huge menu, but we are good at what we do. I also think that it’s not just about the wings. Flavour is where it’s at – and we offer 14 mouth-watering flavours. That’s how we provide variety. Our wings are fresh and made to order, and they bring the flavour every time.

How many chicken wings does your restaurant sell a day?
On average, we sell 2500 pieces a day. Each wing gets cut into two pieces, so that’s just over 1000 wings a day.

What major challenges has the business had to face so far?
As with every business, I think the biggest challenge faced is customer satisfaction. So with this in mind, I always make sure that there is consistency in the service at Wing-it!

What should customers sample when they visit your restaurant?
Our bestselling flavours are BBQ and Honey Mustard but if you want to go for a spice challenge, try Atomic.

Rumour has it that you are looking for new locations to open your next outlet. What is your vision for expansion?
We have had a few offers to open Wingit! in other locations. At present we want to concentrate on our current location and perfect it before we venture out into new areas. We do understand that it is quite a drive for some people to come to Citis Square, so in terms of future expansion we will be looking into major catchment areas in Brunei. We’d like to maybe open five more outlets within the next few years. In the near future, we also plan to look into establishing businesses outside of Brunei. We would like to offer franchising opportunities to individuals who are interested in opening Wing-it restaurants!

What advice would you give to people who are thinking about starting their own business?
Do what you love. You’re going to put a lot of time and energy in your business, so it’s really important that you truly enjoy what you do. Do your research on your industry, product and services. Have a plan and stay focused on your plan. Make sure that you maintain a level of quality. Master your product and stay consistent.

This article was published in the Apr-Jun 2016 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!