Brick-Mortar-Cloud Podcast
Season 1 Episode 2:
A Day in the Life of a CEO

With Yew Kee Group

Watch the video here now!

Uncover the hidden ingredients behind beloved brands like Chi Cha San Chen and Yew Kee Duck Rice where Qin Quan speaks with our CEO Janson on topics like a day in the CEO’s shoes, how they cracked the consistency code, overcoming crisis with creativity and scaling with smarts.

Prefer listening? We got you covered!

Read the transcript here!

Insights from CEO of Yew Kee Group, on F&B Business Expansion and Operational Strategies

Discover strategies for business expansion, overcoming operational challenges, optimizing staffing, and embracing digitalization insights from Qin Quan Seah, CEO of Yew Kee Group. Gain entrepreneurial advice and explore success metrics in the restaurant industry in this engaging Q&A session.

The answers presented here have been summarized and simplified to make them easier to understand. For a complete and detailed explanation, we highly recommend that you watch the entire video podcast or listen to the audio podcast.

Q: Welcome to the Brick Mortar Cloud podcast! Can you introduce yourself and provide some background on your journey with Yew Kee Group?

A: I’m Qin Quan, and I assumed the role of CEO at Yew Kee Group about eight years ago, joining the family business in 2015. Initially, it wasn’t a mandatory path; I found myself naturally gravitating towards it, and over time, I’ve been fortunate to witness the business’s growth and evolution.

Q: Could you elaborate on the business’s expansion over the years and outline your plans for 2024?

A: Currently, we operate nearly eight outlets under various brands like Yew Kee, EXO, and Pasto. Looking ahead to 2024, our focus remains on sustainable growth rather than rapid expansion. We aim to maintain quality across our brands and ensure they cater to a diverse range of customers.

Q: Describe a typical day in your role as CEO and the various projects you oversee.

A: My role has evolved significantly over time. While previously more involved in operational aspects, I now find myself primarily managing the office and liaising with different departments. This includes overseeing projects, operations, finance, business development, and procurement.

Q: What’s the overarching business strategy for the upcoming year, and how do you plan to implement it?

A: Our strategy revolves around nurturing each brand meticulously, akin to raising a child. Quality remains our top priority, and we’re committed to fostering steady growth and expansion while maintaining the integrity of our offerings.

Q: Share a recent success story or significant milestone the group has achieved.

A: One notable achievement was our recent listing on SGX, which marked a significant milestone for the company. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team and sets the stage for future growth opportunities.

Q: Conversely, what are some challenges the business has faced recently, and how did you overcome them?

A: Like many businesses, we encountered challenges during the circuit breaker period, particularly with the mandated closure of our outlets. However, through innovation and adaptability, we found ways to continue serving our customers, such as leveraging dark kitchens for delivery services.

Q: What aspect of the F&B industry do you believe outsiders may not fully understand or appreciate?

A: One aspect often overlooked is the industry’s demanding nature, operating around the clock with no rest days. It requires constant vigilance and readiness to address issues at any time, emphasizing the dedication required for success.

Q: How do you measure success within the organization, and what key performance indicators (KPIs) do you focus on?

A: Success is measured through a variety of metrics tailored to each manager and outlet, including sales figures, food and salary costs, and customer satisfaction. These KPIs help us gauge performance and identify areas for improvement.

Q: Addressing staffing challenges in the F&B industry can be complex. How does Yew Kee Group approach recruitment and retention?

A: Staff retention is a priority for us, and we offer various benefits and incentives to attract and retain talent. However, recruiting for traditional F&B roles, particularly in outlets like dark rice, poses unique challenges due to the specialized skill set required.

Q: Can you discuss any digitization initiatives or efforts to streamline operations within the group?

A: We’ve invested in a central kitchen to optimize our operations and enhance efficiency, particularly in areas like packaging and delivery. This centralized approach allows us to maintain consistency across our outlets while maximizing productivity.

Q: If you could pioneer a startup to address a specific challenge in the food industry, what problem would you tackle?

A: Staffing remains a critical issue, and a startup focused on innovative staffing solutions could significantly impact the industry by addressing recruitment and scheduling challenges.

Q: Lastly, what advice would you offer aspiring entrepreneurs venturing into the F&B space?

A: My advice would be to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and never hesitate to explore new ideas. Persistence and innovation are key, and success often stems from a willingness to adapt and evolve in response to changing circumstances.

Q: Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences with us today.

A: It’s been my pleasure. Thank you for the opportunity to discuss our journey and the exciting future ahead for Yew Kee Group.

yew kee group

Established in 1961, Yew Kee Group started as a hawker pushcart stall in Nee Soon selling braised duck rice. Now, they are behind beloved brands like Chi Cha San Chen and Yew Kee Duck Rice.

Check out our other episodes too!

Season 1 Episode 1: The Nasi Lemak Ayam Taliwang Journey to 20+ Stores

Chief Bapak Officer Noorman Mubarak, founder of Nasi Lemak Ayam Taliwang, joins our CEO, Janson, on our inaugural Brick-Mortar-Cloud podcast episode and shares his inspiring origin story and insights into the world of F&B in Singapore.
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Season 1 Episode 3: Pawnbroker to Powerhouse in Retail

From a traditional pawnbroker to the leading retail force, this episode features Chun Seng, Group General Manager of MoneyMax as he shares with our CEO Janson his secrets.
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