Penang’s Food Paradise: How Aunty Q Boost Efficiency in F&B Industry
In today’s ever-competitive F&B industry, many businesses often seem the same and can be capital-intensive to scale. While food plays a pivotal role in every business, excellent service is the secret to success. This includes ingredient sourcing, cooking techniques, preparation workflow, dining experience, and food delivery.
“Expansion means dealing with consistency. The challenge of expanding to the 3rd branch while maintaining the same standard is advantageous.” Tony Wong is a restaurateur in Penang. Along with his wife, Jane Ong, they founded Aunty Q in 2017. After 6 years of entrepreneurship, they have gained a lot of insights in the F&B industry.
“Conventional restaurants focus on a hands-on approach. In contrast, Western eateries emphasize process efficiency. We believe that blending the advantages of both worlds with the right system is the key to expand and grow Aunty Q.”
On December 31, 2018, the famous Taiwanese singer and the Chinese star of the Avenue of Stars came to have lunch and took a photo with Tony & Jane.
Tony Wong, who has 20-year working experience in telecommunications, was inspired by his mentor to venture into F&B. In 2017, they founded Aunty Q offering mom’s homemade Asian fusion delight such as Cantonese roast pork, sesame oil chicken, pork knuckles with vinegar, spicy sour soup, Thai tom yum soup.
“We started off at our little kitchen at home making roast pork with our own marinade sauce. Perfecting the recipe was an adventure. At first, the meat texture was like chewing gum. Some parts were even tasteless.” Tony recalled.
They kept trying and their relentless attempts paid off. They’re finally able to make their signature product – crispy crackling and juicy roast pork. In 2017, they started their online business selling roast pork. A year later, they opened their first outlet Aunty Q Kitchen & Bar at Summerton, Penang, followed by the second outlet Aunty Q Noodles in 2021.
Each dish prepared by Aunty Q is Tony’s family effort and heritage. The recipes come from Tony’s mother and Jane’s father. Meanwhile, Tony & Jane went to explore the gaps in the market and different ways of having roast meat. By mixing other foods, they made creative cuisine such as roast-meat cakes, BBQ steamed buns, BBQ sushi, Korean BBQ ramen, roast-meat pasta with red sauce, etc. Whether it is a celebration or daily meal, all can satisfy the taste buds of customers.
Aunty Q specializes in family-style “mom’s taste” heart-warming dishes, such as Cantonese crispy roast pork, Thai tomyum soup, and spicy and sour soup. November 05, 2018, Jane once again made a breakthrough, specially made a heart-shaped two-layer roast pork cake for newlyweds
As Tony was choosing the best location for his first restaurant, he already knew that digital efficiency is no longer an option but a necessity.
“Our goal is to leverage technology. By adopting a centralized kitchen, we aim to minimize chef dependency where our staff are responsible for execution while we as bosses supervise the process” said Tony.
“Yet, high employee turnover in the F&B sector poses another challenge waiting to be addressed. Even though we have our SOP in place, we still have to do it ourselves whenever our staff resign. This defies our initial intention of adopting the centralized kitchen.”
During the MCO, Jane learned about the VIMIGO performance reward system from Facebook and signed up to attend the online preview. Then, Tony & Jane took the offline course by Shane Mun in 2022. After understanding the concept of system, data, and talent management, he decided to subscribe to VIMIGO.
“F&B is a very delicate industry, requiring every fine detail to be well controlled.” Tony explained. “However, Eastern culture doesn’t really incorporate systems as Western does. We combine both Eastern and Western and incorporate elements of “humanity”, so Aunty Q Kitchen & Bar was born.”
Aunty Q annual dinner on January 4, 2023
Food quality control is the heart of any F&B business. Tony and Jane are dedicated to optimize their SOP and set it into vimiGoal for their staff to follow. In addition, they use vimiKnowledge to streamline their training process. What a new employee needs to do is simply refer to their mobile phone, thus reducing the cost of training.
“When we first implemented VIMIGO, we spent a year just optimizing our SOP and documenting the processes that hadn’t been put on paper. The following year, we were hesitant to continue the subscription. If you give up, all your hard work of the previous year will be in vain. Fortunately, we chose to continue and now see a different landscape.” Jane shared.
In June 2023, Jane’s participation in the F&B industry summit hosted by VIMIGO led her to realize the importance of collecting Google Review to boost their digital presence. Later after the event, they set this goal in vimiGoal, vimiChallege, and also rewards. Guess what? In just a month alone, Aunty Q received hundreds of good feedbacks from their customers!
>> Read more on VIMIGO functions.
In July 2023, Aunty Q held Rewards Night and rewarded CLASS A employees
“Before this, everyone is eligible to enjoy company benefits. Now with VIMIGO, we can ensure that we reward the right people.” said Tony. “For example, this year’s Reward Night, the company fully sponsored CLASS A staff to join our yacht trip.”
After one and a half years of persistence, their staff gradually get used to the VIMIGO performance reward system. This has improved the team’s work efficiency. “With a transparent and multi-faceted performance reward system, work can be fun, not just work per se.”
For those scouting for restaurant trends in 2023, embracing advanced technology is a must.
“Digital food orders dominate the market now. We see the prevalence of technology enhancements like QR-code ordering, robot-cooked char kway teow, and the rise of cloud kitchens,” Tony revealed his plan to open three outlets within the next five years.
Tony & Jane’s journey, transforming from layman to veteran, witnessed the evolution of the F&B industry. The challenge lies in incorporating traditional approaches with technology, ensuring timeless culinary delights served quicker, easier, surer in a digital age.
Aunty Q, a renowned brand in the Penang food industry, embodies the love of Tony & Jane’s family. Their heritage cuisine not only embraces Penang’s culture but also precious childhood memories of mom’s cooking. The family recipes are passed down to generation and further innovated through the adoption of technology. No matter how advanced the technology is, however, human touch remains irreplaceable. After all, it is still “people” who control the technology.
While the Western world emphasizes systems, the Eastern values human relationships. In today’s era of refined division of labor, the VIMIGO system helps F&B entrepreneurs fine-tune elements of Eastern and Western, with the aim to improve productivity, team efficiency, and deepen corporate culture in the workplace. The ultimate goal – let food bring people a better life.