Diving right in
After graduation, Fai joined Terminal One, a train-themed cafe in JB at the recommendation of a friend. Passionate about learning hands-on skills, he jumped into the food & beverage industry and found that it suited him best.
From his first stint at Terminal One as a secondary school graduate til now, it has been 6 years. Even after briefly leaving the cafe for around 2 years within these 6 years, he ended up going back to Terminal One.
When asked why he liked working at the cafe, Fai admits he has gotten attached to the place as it was the place where he got his first job.
Working his way up
Fai didn’t study F&B. With zero background in this field, Fai started from scratch, beginning as a dishwasher at the bar after graduating from secondary school, rising up the ranks through the years before eventually becoming an Outlet Manager.
When he joined Terminal One, he watched and learnt, observing how his colleagues and superiors handled customers and managed the cafe. By doing this, he says, he picked up many essential skills and gradually developed his own ideas and opinions on how to best operate the cafe.
He believes that learning from others’ strengths is the best way to learn. Having worked under multiple superiors in his years at Terminal One, Fai makes it a point to keep in mind all the good ideas and systems that each of his superiors implemented. He then combines these with his own ideas to improve the managing of the cafe.
Looking to get into the cafe business?
Fai has a few pieces of key advice for those who aspire to be in F&B:
First, to let things go. Whether it’s an annoying customer or a scolding from a superior, once something is over, let it go. If you keep grudges or frustrations in mind, you will be the only one who suffers, he says.
Second, is to train your competencies. No one can survive in any industry without skills in that area, so think of what you want to become and brush up your skills in that area.
Third, for those who aspire to manage a cafe, is to learn how to observe people’s strengths and weaknesses. That way, you know which positions to put them in, to best manage your employees for maximum efficiency.