What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I am a Management Consultant & Executive Leadership Coach. I have had an interest in the F&B industry from an early age. My first foray was almost 20 years ago with a small Indian restaurant in Melaka, which I co-owned for about two years while I was the CEO of a college there. After a break of 15 years, and after having consulted for numerous F&B outlets, coached owners on best practices, and given advice on Malaysia’s Business Radio Station, BFM 89.9, in September 2015 I reckoned it was time for me take the plunge again. So, together with my wife and a few friends, I bought over D’Legends Bar, which was a small family run bar in Taman Tun Dr Ismail.
Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
I coach leaders in some of Malaysia’s top corporate entities. I have a weekly newspaper column in a national daily, I appear on a TV magazine show, I am a regular contributor on BFM 89.9, I have authored a national bestseller; so my day job is very rewarding. You can imagine my shock when after appointing a promising head chef for D’Legends Bar, paying him a fair wage and giving him a free hand, four months into the job, he just didn’t show up for work one day. And it was on the 1st of January. One of our busiest days as we launched our updated menu. I had to roll up my sleeves and become the head chef! The lesson for me and for anyone else interested in the F&B industry is that before you establish or buy a restaurant or bar, you must be prepared to learn and do every job in your outlet.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part of being the owner is when we receive handwritten notes from our customers on napkins or at the back of receipts on how wonderful an experience they’ve had at D’Legends Bar. Conversely, the worst part is when I feel we have let a customer down, in terms of quality and service.
What’s your favourite meal/ drink in D’Legends Bar?
My favourite tipple at D’Legends Bar is a mug (or three) of our crisp, award winning Tiger Beer. And while I work with my chefs to create our menu items, the one meal I can repeatedly eat here is our Legendary Hainanese Chicken Chop with our amazing hand-cut fries.
What’s one of the funniest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
The funniest thing that has happened so far is on one packed evening, we suddenly noticed a little stray cat casually stroll into D’Legends Bar. We are a dog-friendly bar, but this cat had no issues just popping in. Our staff, carefully carried the little fellow out and placed him back on the street. In seconds, this audacious cat was back in. After about 10 minutes of doing this repeatedly, I decided that any cat that was brave enough to stroll into our packed bar, which had a couple of dogs that time, certainly deserved a good home. That gutsy little guy now lives with us at home. He’s called Gillie the Legend!
The perfect day off would be…
Oh! I am from Penang. We are an island race. A perfect day off would be spent sitting by a sandy beach with my lovely wife, sipping a cold beer, drawing on a nice cigar and thinking about how to make life better for myself and everyone around me.
A day in the life of a entrepreneur is…
A day in the life of an entrepreneur is spent solving problems, having discussions about making our businesses more relevant, thinking about new ideas, connecting with people and considering how to add value.
What do you do for fun?
I co-founded Malaysia’s only dedicated stand-up comedy club, the Crackhouse Comedy Club. Often, when I need fun, I turn up at the Crackhouse and laugh my woes away.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about D’Legends Bar?
D’Legends Bar doesn’t pretend to be anything more than a neighbourhood hangout. Our beers are outstanding, our food tasty, our staff trained to attend to your needs and our prices won’t break the bank. We are your default setting for stress relief at least three or four times a week.
What’s your favourite (s) food and wine pairing?
I love a well marbled grass-fed rib-eye steak, which is seared crisp on the outside, yet medium-rare on the inside, paired with a robust Malbec.
What’s your view on the food scene in Malaysia?
Malaysians are getting more knowledgeable about food. This has seen numerous fine dining, specialty, and novelty eateries opening up. The downside is that many operators focus on profiteering, instead of fair profit for fair service. We are not keen on joining this genre. Malaysians have access to glorious local food. For us at D’Legends Bar, we focus on really tasty food that is evocative of what Malaysians like. And our emphasis is on top-notch service.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
At D’Legends Bar were are constantly refreshing our food menu. Our menu is updated every three to four months. In November 2016, we are flying in a renowned Austrian Chef as a guest chef for a week. Chef Markus Fasser from Tyrol will be serving Austrian pub grub at D’Legends from the 29th of November 2016, for a week. Exciting times!