RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
“I always tell my staff they are all my business partners. Loyalty, honesty, and harmony within the organisation are the building blocks of the company”
From its origins as a modest eatery back in 2003 to the full-service halal-certified caterer with ISO22000 certification that it is today, Eatz Catering is a story of vision and tenacity.
The company’s founder, Novie Djayayanti Tjoa, close to 40, relates that she came from humble beginnings and did not have much money. But she knew that she needed to prove her worth, and eventually came to show her true mettle when she pushed herself to realise her dream of starting her own business. Novie’s goal was simple: To give her parents a better quality of life.
Little by little she built her food enterprise, garnering the praise and approval of clients including MNCs, government statutory boards, government offices, local SMEs, tertiary institutions, universities, schools, and so on. But Novie has her feet firmly on the ground, recalling often that her early days were once very trying.
Personally, I felt it was an industry that didn’t have particularly high barriers to entry. I wasn’t the best student back in school. And at the time, I was working in F&B, so I wanted to start somewhere within my capabilities.
Our flexibility, services, culture, our prices, and our wide range of food products. I believe these are our ingredients of success.
First, integrity. I always insist on doing the right thing all the time in any given situation. Second, respect. Due respect is given to even the lowest ranking staff in the company. We recognise that everyone is important and responsible for his or her work. Third, innovation. The company believes in constant innovation so that our processes can be streamlined. Fourth, drive. The company possesses the drive and the energy and that rubs off on the staff. And finally, discipline. Discipline and perseverance have propelled the company to where it is today.
I believe in sheer determination and hard work. The “I can do it and I will do it” mindset enables me to propel forward. I always surround myself with people who believe in me and bring positive impact.
I don’t think I want to change anything. I have no regrets.
At first, I was motivated to do well for my parents. If we had money back then, my father might have gotten better medical care. So I promised myself I would give my parents a better life, I want to make them happy. That determination and grit to achieve success brought us to where we now stand. Today, nothing has changed. I still want to give the best that I can for my parents, but also for my kids because I am already grooming my son, as I hope to handover the business to my children.
I’m a self-driven leader. And we are very open to the market cycle and trends and keep ourselves updated. Very often, I have open conversations with my peers in the industry, And when I travel, my eyes and mind are open to anything that could be of interest to my industry — it could be an idea, a concept, or even a simple thing like placement of tableware.
When I was schooling, I never disciplined myself and I didn’t do well in my studies, I lacked self-discipline. But I managed to change myself. I believe strongly that being self-disciplined is the single most important quality for success in life and business.
Finding staff is also a challenge. When we were small, I had fewer employees. I continued to struggle for a few years in the beginning, working more than 16 hours a day. I felt left out in my social circles, but at the same time I was afraid of failure. I could not let my business fail. I would do everything to prevent that from happening.
We have been doing CSR activities with Singapore Children Society, Promise Land, Habitat, Assisi Hospice Care, and Ren Ci Hospital. In fact, we just got recognised for the third consecutive year contributing to Singapore Children Society. The company has also embarked on a dollar-for-dollar donation matching to encourage our staff to give back. Most recently, the company has also gone on a blood donation drive.
I love to read, and I enjoy watching inspirational and business-related videos to improve my knowledge. I spend time with my two kids at home or at attractions around Singapore and overseas travels, when time permits.