Mr. David Tan and Mr. Derrick Tan : Winning The Hearts (and Stomachs) Of Singaporeans With Pig Organ Soup
Cheng Mun Chee Kee Coffee Shop
Pig organ soup is a famous dish in Singapore, a delectable soup of pork innards with salted veggies, pork slices, onion leaves and pepper which can be served with side dishes like tofu. It is so famous a dish that a lot of food stalls serve it. But when it comes to the original pig organ soup, Cheng Mun Chee Kee coffee shop at Foch Road can’t be topped. Proof to that, the old uncle from whom this recipe originated is still around, working in the shop now owned by business partners David Tan and Derrick Tan. “We still have Uncle Cheng Mun Chee, the original owner with us. He works for us. Even some of his family members are with us and we are delighted with this set-up,” they say. “We keep a good rapport with our workers and we work together as a family. We sustain a value of camaraderie,” they happily impart.
This sumptuous broth is David and Derrick’s signature dish in winning the hearts and stomachs of many Singaporeans. Here, David and Derrick share their passion for the food business and talk about their sacrifices in sustaining the good old recipe that makes Cheng Mun Chee Kee a legendary name in Singapore.
Meeting The Challenges And Setbacks Of The Coffee Shop Business
Having been in the coffee shop business before, one would surmise that David and Derrick are already seasoned entrepreneurs who now sit on big profits. Not to mention that they carry the original pig organ soup recipe in all of Singapore, after acquiring it from the uncle six years ago. However, the partners are honest enough to say that they also experienced setbacks in maintaining the business over the last three years.
So, how did David and Derrick become the second generation owners of the coffee shop that offers the best and most famous pig organ soup in the city? According to the business partners, a friend presented to them the prospect of taking over Cheng Mun Chee’s business. They grabbed the opportunity, took the challenge and the rest, as they say, is history.
Over time, similar stalls have mushroomed everywhere offering and carrying their same “Mun Kee Chee” soup. “Across the street is a similar business offering the same pig organ soup,” they say. “Ours is definitely the original. This business had been standing since 1973,” they proudly add. Despite being appreciated by food bloggers, locals and tourists over their delicious soup, David and Derrick still saw the need for an aggressive marketing of their business. “Marketing was an issue for us. We carry an established name, but we still need to do marketing,” they share. Thus, they never stopped formulating marketing strategies for the business. They serve around the clock, with their best service and their principles of “quality, compliment and attitude.” It is therefore not surprising to read good reviews on their food and drinks, ambience, value for
money and amenities.
For David and Derrick, manpower has also become a major challenge in keeping their business growing steadily. Considering the number of customers who head over in droves round the clock, they only maintain a number of personnel who work a 6-hour shift on a daily basis. This shortage of manpower did not keep them from giving the best service to their customer, many of whom give thumbs up for their prompt and great service. Indeed, there is no crazy waiting time in Cheng Mun Chee Kee.
Something Original, Something New: A Look Into The Future
In the next five years, David and Derrick plans to bring in more new recipes for the locals and avid clients. “We will still maintain our original pig organ soup,” they say. Avid fans of Cheng Mun Chee Kee praise the light consistency of the pig organ soup that has been boiled perfectly for that right, not-too-salty taste. They crave over the tender meat balls; one blogger even mentioning it as the “perfect satisfaction.” Asked what principles he hardworking partners live by, both say “we live on consistency and quality. The business is already a boom, but we cannot be complacent. We need to keep on improving and developing over time through consistent service, attitude and quality.”
David and Derrick also look up to their icon of success and triumph, Lee Kuan Yew, the father of modern Singapore, who built the country through the principles of good economics, hard work and consistency. “Lee Kuan Yew saw the strength of the people in building its economy. We liked how he handled the workforce of this country and in a way we also put into practice some of his principles in tapping the potentials of our workers. We believe that harnessing the wealth of experience of our workers is among the ultimate secrets of our business’ success,” they say.
Advice To Young Food Entrepreneurs: Quality and Consistency Is The Recipe To Success
David and Derrick say that time is a very valuable investment in putting up a business. They spend most of their time in the coffee shop, checking on the business and even serving the customers. “Since we ran this business, time for the family became a luxury for us. It’s a sacrifice we have to make. Starting entrepreneurs should understand the value of time and that they must strive hard for a balance of work and personal life,” they say.
“Venturing into food business, an entrepreneur should understand your menu and recipes. Meaning, one must be able to know and appreciate how they are prepared, cooked and served. Be very particular with quality and do not compromise quality for cost,” they also add. “Strive for consistency in all aspects. Many budding entrepreneurs become inconsistent over time. They try to give up their principles and lose interest after years. In business, one must struggle for stability and sustainability,” they say.
Asked how the partners define success, they say “happy life, loving what you do and the thirst for learning.” They also say that the most satisfying moment they felt in their business is when they see the constant flow of people coming to Cheng Mun Chee Kee, seeing their business grow and seeing their workers happy.
Indeed, David and Derrick have won the hearts of their customers through their consistency and sacrifice. The years ahead will be a heartwarming journey for these food entrepreneurs, and it will happen one bowl of pig organ soup goodness at a time.Authentic Mun Chee Kee King of Pig’s Organ Soup 207 Jalan Besar S(208893)