Soft-spoken yet without lacking conviction, Mr Eric Yap said “build your base and expand when the time is right”. The Managing Director of Allied Foodservice Equipment Sdn Bhd believes that each endeavour must firstly have a strong foundation and that is how he has taken the company through these 23 years of operations. In providing the A-Z of setting up a commercial kitchens, he remarked that while the cake for operators is getting smaller in Malaysia, the demand has not exactly grown in tandem with supply over the years. Although by the looks of it (perhaps thanks to visibility on social media), people are eating out a lot, he said it only reflects cities and Malaysians at large still spend time cooking their own food, especially in the outskirts. And in this light, there will always be a role for solution providers such as Allied in improving the industry’s practices.
Known in the foodservice field as the Bar & Grill specialist, given that it worked on various concepts that entered Malaysia in its early days, Allied soon expanded to putting its professional touches in restaurants of different concepts, fast food chains, hotels, production kitchens, cafes, institutions and food supply companies. Given that no production process and flow is the same even if it is a chain store to be replicated in different locations, Allied treats every site with a fresh pair of eyes, leading to clients putting complete trust to just call them to work on their new location. And Mr Eric is certainly one who knows about such complexities. His career began in 1983 as a draftsman, after completing his Mechanical Engineering studies, he was responsible to draw equipment layout plans for clients. In the times where the Autocad software had not yet been invented, he told us that for ever y adjustment, he’d have to redraw the entire plan and many times the piece of paper would have holes from all the erasing! Interestingly, when asked if he entered the field with a zeal for the F&B trade, it was quite the contrary; “all I wanted was to learn a trade and make a business out of it”. Well, his choice has definitely paid off.
WALKING WITH THE CLIENT
There must be a reason why Allied achieves 90% repeated clients. Believing in the importance of giving their best with value-added services, Mr Eric would not hesitate to be honest with a client whom he thinks he is unable to comply with the requirements. He wants the client to be confident of its efficiency, productivity and workflow that will in turn affect the levels of satisfaction gained by the establishment’s customers. Observing that good and friendly service are likely to bring return diners even though the food is average, Allied aims to assist restaurant operators in influencing human behaviour; one where diners are proud to go back and introduce others to it. Therefore, CONSISTENCY is vital; both in terms of service and food quality. To achieve that, the company takes the time to consider the needs of all users in the foodservice facility; be it the chef and crew or the front-of-house. Mr Eric reiterates that as a project management company, they must see where the client is coming from because everyone perceives a situation differently, depending on their experience or projected needs. Therefore, listening keenly and considering other viewpoints will enable the team to supply products and services with unmistakable technological value contributing to improving the work of its clients. The main elements in accomodating for a kitchen space is firstly; what are the most important equipment the client requires, followed by allocating space for refrigeration and lastly stainless steel fabrication.
Strategically located in Cheras with its test kitchen, Allied also has a factory in Puchong, where stainless steel fabrication and refrigeration is carried out. The company is planning to acquire more advance precision machineries and equipment as well as employing more skilled personnel to increase its capacity in production. It also has offices in Sabah and Singapore where the former is geared towards retail while the latter provides similar services as the main office and is breaking grounds into Penang as well. Like any other professional in F&B will lament, Mr Eric faces the problem with skilled labour particularly in the area of service. He wants to make sure that all Allied’s technicians are versed in identifying and repairing each equipment carried by the company; by working together with the respective Principals to carry out regular training sessions. There is no shortage of equipment to carry but Mr Eric chooses to distribute equipment that closely matches the type of restaurants it sets up. The question on keeping spare parts – how does he decide between investing in high amounts of keeping it minimum to be cost efficient? No clear cut answer there but he did say that keeping stock can be a winning move.
WHAT DOES A-Z SERVICES BY ALLIED COVER?
• Initial consultation with the owner, architects and other consultants to determine the overall objectives
• Designing of the Kitchen Layout and Equipment Specification
• Designing the Floor Plan for different categories of food service facilities such as storage, preparation, cooking, servicing and clean-up
• Planning of the budget to analyse cost of all sections equipments.
• Super vision during the project and meeting the standard specified equipments
• Installation of the equipment to the various service / utility points
• Marketing and promotion of our refrigerators and exclusive represented products through activities such as sessions to highlight cookchill, blast freezing and sous-vide technologies at its test kitchen.
• After sales service to guarantee proper function of equipments. Mr Eric emphasised the benefit of having a scheduled preventive maintenance contract with your equipment dealer. Too many owners choose not to set aside the funds for this exercise thinking that breakdowns won’t happen so quickly to a new machine. Yet anything can happen and he added that many have been caught unaware and the service team is unable to help immediately as having to put customers who have pre-booked their maintenance timing ahead of time.
For all his years in the industry, Mr Eric shows no sign of knowing-it-all but keeps to his principle of always “what you start must be accompanied with follow ups ”and it shows in the careful articulation of his thoughts throughout the 2 hours plus we spent chatting. And this sturdy disposition must be one of the factors for Allied’s reputation, whether towards its Principals and associates or clients in Malaysia, and countries like Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Shenzhen China, Australia, Sri Lanka and India.
No. 92-94-96, Jalan Mutiara Barat 6,
Off Jalan Cheras, Taman Taynton View,
56000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 603-9133 5833
Fax: 603-9132 5933