BFM Media Sdn Bhd ran its third annual ‘BFM Enterprise Takeaway’ food and beverage (F&B) conference on July 13 this year, bringing together food-preneurs from all facets of the F&B business chain.
“This is our third Enterprise Takeaway event and we’ve decided to cover all the major aspects of the food industry in a single conference,” said BFM Media managing director Malek Ali, as reported by The Edge.
“We’ve carefully crafted each panel to cater specifically to an area of the F&B chain, and we’ve called upon industry experts and entrepreneurs who have gathered real-life experience in the field to share, educate, and give their insights to those in attendance,” he added.
Themed “Keeping the L.O.V.E (Labour. Operations. Vendors. Expansion) Alive”, the country’s only independent radio station that focuses on business news and current affairs said this year’s event is aimed to set the stage for a collaboration of the region’s finest entrepreneurs in the F&B scene, to deliver knowledge and information to those aspiring to take their food ventures to new heights. Headliners of the event included Chef Kevin Cherkas, founder of the much-lauded Cuca restaurant in Bali, food stylist and restaurateur Isadora Chai, and Chef Margarita Flores, winner of Asia’s Best Female Chef 2016. Each of these dynamic personalities brought their different approaches to the event, giving the audience a well-rounded view of how the ever-evolving food industry operates in these times. Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) was the presenting sponsor of BFM Enterprise Takeaway 2017.
Held at the Connexion Conference and Events Centre at Nexus Bangsar South, Enterprise Takeaway 2017 featured a panel involving influential business founders and industry experts such as Jonathan Weins (Dah Makan), Chin Renyi (MyBurgerLab), Azhar Darbi (McDonald’s) and Loi Tuan Ee (Holstein Milk), who covered an array of topics that were both timely and beneficial for anyone embarking on their own F&B entrepreneurial endeavour. Some of the things that were covered included the area of Operations, Vendors, Technology and Expansion plans. Hot topics such as energy efficiency and the use of automation were covered under Operations, while a section under ‘People’ enlightened audiences about the state of the industry here in our home ground.
Chin Renyi, co-founder of myBurgerLab and known as a hospitality mentor, shared the challenges he faced in recruiting young people into the business, while Hisham Tan Abdullah of the Malaysian Food & Beverage Executives Association (MFBEA) informed participants that the perception of the F&B industry in Malaysia is rather poor amongst, not only young people, but their parents too. “We [Malaysia] used to be known for our services but that is no longer true. Young people today believe there is no future in this industry. What we need to do is change their mindset, as well as their parent’s mindset. The industry has to do more to reach out to young people, such as creating awareness from secondary school levels,” said Hisham.
“The F&B industry is not seen as ‘cool’ these days. In the last five to 10 years, we have transitioned to an industry that relies a lot on foreign workers. Coming back from the States where I studied and worked part-time in the industry, I could see this clearly, which was such a contrast to the US, where many young people saving money would have no problems in taking up F&B jobs. A restaurant is not just about good food, but about good service too,” shared Renyi.
The highlight of the whole event however, was the first session featuring the star panelists of the day. This lively introduction to the Enterprise Takeaway discussed the overall theme: Keeping the L.O.V.E. Alive and the celebrity chefs shared many key insights through their years of collective experiences, moderated by Audrey Raj. Chef Cherkas, Fores and Chai all agreed that their passion for making people happy kept them in the business, and discussed how they go about recruiting people to their team. They also talked about the importance of having a system in place, and making it part of the in-built culture. The entire Enterprise Takeaway captivated over 600 attendees, out of which, about over 400 comprised of those directly in the industry such as suppliers, vendors, and some who were not yet in the business, but were looking to get into it.
“Many of them come to network, as it is a trade event, but many are there for the content because they know that they probably won’t get the same insight elsewhere – our speakers are always candid and the space is more inclusive,” said BFM.