Who can guess a pizza boy could become the CEO of a well-known fast food chain?
This is the real-life proof of a humble human who worked hard and was determined to make his entrepreneurial dream come true. As a Finance and Economics graduate, he was pursuing the conventional career path of finance and banking. While he was enjoying the privileges and benefits of being an expat in Singapore, he decided to quit at age 27.
Throughout the whole journey, he has learned 5 lessons that lead him to where he is now – the CEO of A&W Malaysia, a fast food chain famous for root beer and coney beef.
Lesson #1 Understand your market before you invest in it.
In his early teenage years, George Ang worked as a part-time pizza delivery guy to earn some pocket money. He was merely earning RM2 per hour back then. But, he was able to firsthand experience the culture of the food and beverage industry at a young age. Soon, he found out that the fast food industry was not as difficult as it seemed.
He started to go deep into understanding this market by doing his own market research.
He would sit in the shopping malls and count the traffic for a fast food restaurant for the entire day. He would even record the weekday population and weekend population in that restaurant and made a comparison. This market research helped George to determine whether he would open a similar restaurant in that particular mall.
Lesson #2 Focus on people.
George believed that the fast food industry is a people-focused business. He strongly made sure to have it covered within his business.
In A&W Malaysia, he eliminates any barriers that cause inefficient communication between him and the staff. “I’m sometimes asked whether I practice an open-door policy at work, to which I reply, ‘What door?’ I don’t have a door, anyone can come up to me for a chat anytime.”
Every quarter, the leadership team in the headquarter will take over the service at an outlet that has excellent performance. This down-to-earth move makes the staff feel seen and appreciated. “This reminds us of the fundamental things, no matter how high we climb. This is a very grounded business, and you cannot lead from an ivory tower.”
Lesson #3 Create a simple process.
Back in the days when he was working in a pizza chain, he found out that a simple kitchen is the most crucial aspect of a restaurant.
“Design a simple kitchen which anyone can operate, if you want to run a restaurant.” George further explained that this simple process in the kitchen helps to improve efficiency and prevent any mishap if a “chef” was sick and could not find any replacement. A simple kitchen means anyone can use it without any cooking skills or background.
Keep on improving the process to simplify it even further. “If you currently have 10 steps in the process, reduce it to 5 steps if possible.” Always go back to the process to make it faster and easier.
Lesson #4 Quality triumphs over everything.
When George took over the operation of A&W Malaysia, he found out one of the biggest flaws in the fast food chain.
“Some restaurants were using paper cups to serve the root beer, which would spoil the whole experience in A&W,” George explained. “And we were using frozen chicken instead of fresh chicken, which brought down the whole quality of the food experience.”
To stop the customers’ complaints and revive back its reputation, one of the first things he did when he becomes the CEO was to replace back the frosted mugs and change back to using fresh chicken.
Lesson #5 Consistency is the key to success.
Consistency is the secret of any successful business.
George said, “Mcdonald’s burger is consistent no matter where you eat it. It doesn’t have to be a superior burger but it needs to be a burger.”
Needless to say, Monsta Asia can’t agree more with this #5 lesson. Through our consistency and perseverance, we have inspired 30,000 talents and created 300+ opportunities for young talents to unleash the best potential of every individual for the past 5 years. We are determined to build a sustainable talent ecosystem through knowledge, experience and network.
Every year since 2018, we reward these inspiring and influential youths through our flagship program, MonStar Awards. This year we will do the same, yet will be totally different. Stay tuned for MonStar Awards 2022… it will be transformational.