From foodie to chef and restaurateur

 

Back when he was a simple cook in the hospitality sector, Rosman Hussin never thought that one day he’d have a business of his own.


Armed with determination, as well as encouragement from his mother, he managed to set up a restaurant, The Humble Chef, at Plaza Damansara.


Rosman is proud to be known as the ‘humble’ chef, as it is a far cry from the times he worked in obscurity at hotels and catering units, clocking up to 18 hours a day to fulfil orders and remain focused at all times.


Rosman has plenty of experience in the hospitality industry (Pic copyright TM Info-Media Sdn Bhd)


“I love to eat, basically. And when I create something good in the kitchen and my mum said that I should turn it into a business, there’s no turning back.”


However, he was only starting out in business at that time, and realized that he had a lot to learn.


“My concern is, how do I manage it? Then I just thought I’d go with the flow and take the risk. If you don’t have that kind of guts to do that, you’ll never know. But you have to start small and not be too aggressive in the beginning,” he says.


Rosman is largely responsible for the operational side of the business while his mother mostly does the planning in the initial stages.


“It’s a family effort between my mum and I. I’m the guy who has the idea on how to develop the product, and my mum planned it well by making it a small start,” adds Rosman.


The Humble Chef is situated at Plaza Damansara (Pic from Facebook)


The planning from the outset took six years.


Now that he is in the restaurant business, Rosman is always looking for opportunities for expansion. However, he maintains that it won’t be at the expense of quality. “We also want to see what the turnover is like before opening another outlet,” says Rosman.

 

Sharing his experience in setting up the restaurant, Rosman opines that creating a standard operating procedure (SOP) that’s both practical yet precise was the most challenging part of the project.


Realizing this, Rosman trained his restaurant manager well so that the manager in turn can train others under him.


The Humble Chef establishment is now reaping the benefits of a consistent SOP, as the routine allows Rosman more time to strategize on ways to move his business forward.


Future plans include the possibility of going global (“some of my customers are foreigners, like from the UK and Japan”), introducing a healthy food menu for the health-conscious, and venturing into making The Humble Chef merchandise (eg uniforms) for sale.


One of the items on the dessert menu (Pic from Facebook)


Despite looking far ahead, Rosman maintains that it will never supersede his number one priority — the maintenance of the outlet’s food and beverage quality.


Rosman admits that while he rarely uses the social media, it is a handy tool due to its ease of use. “Customers like to share what they eat (by posting it) on the social media, hashtag, and publicize us. I also talk to customers after they finish their meal and ask them how they like the food. I’d also ask them where they stay. It’s like a survey so that I’d know where it’s feasible to open the next outlet.” 


While it does have its pros and cons (“My concern is the review. If the review is bad, that’s the time I’m more attuned to the social media.”), he believes that he learns a lot about managing customer expectations. “I don’t take it (a negative review) personally. It makes me want to do things better.”


His advice to young and aspiring individuals wanting to venture into business is this: Always be willing to learn on the job, and have a goal to aspire to.


“It’s a good thing if they work with people. It’s to gain experience and opportunity. Workers focus on groundwork and it’s better for them to gain that experience. Higher-ranking jobs have limited spots so there’s a lot of competition. Either you open your own business, stick around and learn from your boss, or move to another company to learn more. I don’t hunger for salary though I need money to pay bills. I realize that I need to get somewhere so I move on as much as I can to learn new skills. Just don’t limit your options.”

 

Note: The Humble Chef Restaurant is located at 54-G Jalan Medan Setia 2, Plaza Damansara, Petaling Jaya. Business hours: 12 noon–3.00 pm and 6.30–11.30 pm. Closed on Sundays. Call 014-229 6854.




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