“We shall ensure that the advice and recommendations we present are based upon our findings, analysis and experience in the industry, and are realistic, practical and presented to the client in a clear manner.” One of Par Synergy’s professional codes of conduct brings forth the importance of providing solutions where its client have full understanding of its benefits (and risks) of the decision it undertakes. In both the Consultants’ book, Mr Ahmed Subactogin (on the left) and Mr Norbert Finger, coming to a mutual agreement is the first thing that needs to be achieved before any action is taken. Therefore, internally, both partners will bring up their points and try to convince the other of it; and the winner gets to make the final decision of what would be suggested to the client, said Ahmed.
These exchanges are just another day in the office for them; when an engineering graduate who worked his way up from a French kitchen equipment manufacturing company and a professional chef with the experience of overseeing foodservice operations in 5-star hotels meet and plan out a foodservice facility. Which is why the name Par Synergy falls appropriately as ‘par’ means being on the same level and ‘synergy’ is attributed to Aristotle’s famous philosophy of “the sum of all parts is greater than the whole”. In 1996, Ahmed started the company after almost 20 years of gathering the
knowledge from the above mentioned French company and with stints as a designer and consultant for commercial kitchens. From a one-man show working on his wife’s ironing table with her supporting him in all possible avenues and later striking a partnership with Norbert, the company has moved up steadily in Malaysia as well as in the Middle East, IndoChina and Southeast Asia regions.
WHAT MAKES SYNERGY?
As many in the field knows and concurred by Ahmed, Consultants need to know everything about a kitchen – the desired design and its practicality, how would the crew be cooking, the engineering aspect of equipment, suitability of equipment, customers’ satisfaction, local regulations and not forgetting the expectations or the client! While many are able to visualise and even draw out a layout plan, it is actually only a small segment of the bigger picture. “What is important is engineering the layout for even small things matter such as creating ‘curves’ on the wall for hygiene”,said Ahmed. Then it moves to the everyday movements; when designing a kitchen, they must take into account the mobility of the staff and how much space is needed versus space allocated. And as a chef, Norbert knows very well that a fluid workspace improves efficiency, safety and employee morale – something that is rarely spoken about. However, Ahmed attests that Par Synergy places high regard on this, relating a story about how a chef he knew left the job simply because of poor workflow in the kitchen. Due to its emission of cooking flames, heat and greasiness, kitchens are always at the back and possibly lack sunlight. Not only is it uncomfortable, the enclosed spaces could trigger a feeling of gloominess for some people, hence a optimum working environment is not to be compromised despite ‘expensive’ being the foremost expression of many clients.
Speaking of the finance factor, Par Synergy encourages its clients to think ahead. In most developing countries, space comes with a premium price tag whereby we need to compress them yet produce more, says Norbert. His decades of experience have taken him through the industry’s progression and he acknowledges that today you build the same kitchen with the same equipment to do the same function with 1/3 of the size – how are we going to do it? Fittings such as
ventilation systems are known to be on the pricey end but it goes back to employee comfort which removes one downside of working in limited space. Next would be equipment and from an engineering standpoint, Ahmed notes that the durability and availability of spare parts to be his major criteria because a kitchen would look to use a machine for a long time even though there is always new technology, it is also dependent whether or not the facility needs it. One of the pertinent issues of the industry is labour and utility. Although it is still comparatively affordable in Asia, there is no telling when it will change and operators should be prepared to face the eventualities. Both partners of the company agree that technology has improved and from a chef’s and engineer’s standpoint, commercial kitchens can be leaner and more efficient with technology like pressure cooking that cuts down cooking time, save energy and ease staff fatigue. Especially in large, institutional kitchens that operate like clockwork. (more on this to be discussed in Business Sense on page 47)
SUCCESSFUL PARTNERSHIPS ACROSS FOODSERVICE
In its simple office space, Par Synergy is a picture of tracking steady grounds over the years, believing that substance speaks more than a physical appearance. As a Professional Member with the Food Service Consultants Society USA (FCSI) and an award-winning chef respectively, both Ahmed and Norbert continue to pursue knowledge to keep updated with the latest ideas around the world. For example, they shared with us their experience of witnessing a revolutionary technology in refrigeration which they hope to introduce to this part of the world one day. In line with that, the partners agree that it would not be justifiable to say that Southeast Asia is lagging behind in terms of adopting technology for we are a fairly young continent where chefs are slowly, but surely, discovering new ways to work.
As one of the pioneer Consulting companies in Malaysia, they have always pursued more than what was required by the regulations. One of its most significant works would be setting up the first HACCP-compliant foodservice facility in Malaysia, which was in University Hospital. The facility serves 8,000 meals a day and Ahmed shared that time was really tight and they managed to remodel the place and get it operating within one month. It also played an important part when the country’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) begun operations, working on consultancy, facilities design, planning, system development and Project Management for its flight kitchen, food court and cafés. For
a company that begun banking on experience and a whole lot of courage, Par Synergy is now handling the foodservice aspect of a soon-to-be-announced project that is poised to be one of the largest in Asia.
With that, it promises to “be responsible to the interests of the foodservice consulting profession by endeavouring to enhance the standing and public image of the profession and the association within our community” – committing to keep a balance between looking out for clients’ best interest yet maintaining a high regard for the work of professional consulting.
PAR SYNERGY SERVICES
Design and Consultancy Services
Food Services And Laundry Facilities
• Concept Development And Preliminary Designing.
• Final Design And Layout Planning.
• Tender Documentation.
• Tender Evaluation.
• Post Award Services.
• Design, procurement and installation of Food Service Equipment & Laundry Equipment.
• Design, planning, procurement and installation of Solid and Liquid waste management.
• Preventive maintenance systems for Kitchen, Laundry and Refrigeration equipment.
• Operator’s staff training and orientation.
PAR SYNERGY (M) SDN.BHD.
No 6A, Jalan SS4/17,
47301 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.
Tel : 603 – 78771230
Fax : 603 – 78770036