He left his job as a marketing director at a multinational company, where he was earning a five-figure monthly income, after
spotting a gap in the food and beverage (F&B) industry. “At that time, there was a distinct lack of casual dining cafes in Malaysia,” he explains. He set up the business together with three nephews, who are trained bakers, and a start-up capital of RM150,000. “It was self-funded. Until today, we have not borrowed from the banks.”
Determined to be a trend-setter, Dato’ Steven introduced the first alfresco café concept in Kuala Lumpur. In 1997, along with his four nephews, Dato’ Steven launched Secret Recipe, with the promise to offer something new different to their customers with emphasis on quality products, variety, moderate pricing and a contemporary ambience. Dato’ Steven was very involved in the initial brand building exercise of the business. He along with team were focused on creating their own distinctive logo, corporate colour, marketing strategies, uniforms, menu layout, interior design and customer service standards which he deems crucial in the recognition and acceptance of this local brand name. Building the brand was of utmost importance to him than generating immense profits. Nothing thrills him more than the excitement and challenge of creating something from scratch. He sees himself as a brand builder and derives great satisfaction from seeing the brand being a household name. Dato’ Steven believes that to be different, one must identify the features of a brand that (can) extend beyond. These features are what makes a brand truly unique and distinctive compared with its competitors. He also strongly holds on to the fact that differentiation, innovation, adaptability, research and development, consistency, identity and brand promise are the ingredients that contribute the growth of his business. Since the first Secret Recipe café in SS2, Petaling Jaya with only two staff, Secret Recipe has come a long way with 200 outlets including 50 overseas and almost 4,000 employees. With outlets in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, Pakistan and Brunei, Dato’ Steven is currently working towards the possibility of penetrating into the Western market. Apart from his business acumen, Dato' Steven is also a philanthropist who devotes time to raising funds for charitable causes. He has also successfully implemented a franchise scheme providing an avenue for employment for unemployed graduates and women. The charitable side of him has translated to personal contributions to free clinics under HOPE Worldwide and sponsoring education for orphans. Recognizing his achievement in taking a piece of Malaysia out to the world, The Asia Pacific Brands Foundation conferred The BrandLaureate – SMEs Brand Personality Award to Dato’ Steven Sim Leong Thun, Chief Executive Officer of Secret Recipe in.
Customers can always enjoy in confidence from more than 20 types of fusion food, 40 cake creations and pastries, with a flavorful range of ice cream and beverages offered in all Secret Recipe outlets. Apart from selling cakes and foods, Secret Recipe also emphasis on the service they provide to their customers such as providing online ordering system, delivery system. Target market of Secret Recipe is focus on the medium and upper class society because they have good financial backgrounds and afford to buy the food in Secret Recipe which is a bit expensive if compare...
“After thinking for a name for weeks, Secret Recipe just came to me in a dream one day. I knew it would not go wrong. It is literally a secret recipe,” Sim tells StarBizWeek.
So. “Cakes. who is also a well-known speaker at brand conferences and events. The company had very much focused on brand building early on. Building a sustainable business with a strong brand is no easy task. “We will open a Secret Recipe outlet in Australia by year-end. Sim says. are quite universal and easy to relate to. Secret Recipe Cakes & Cafe was awarded the International Franchisor of The Year award by Franchising and Licensing Association Singapore. It created its own logo. China. Pakistan and Brunei. menu layout. The company is targeting for 200 outlets domestically in two years.” he says. the Philippines. and close to a total 4. adaptability. uniforms. Thailand. it did not receive much attention. Hong Kong and even Singapore itself. though western in origin. “To be different. Europe. It is not mind boggling or complicated. consistency and awards recognition. food staples and food culture. “There was a lot of market research done in terms of lifestyle. innovation. if not better than any brand in Singapore.” he says.” he says. adding that one must know what the brand’s strength is. focus on it and develop it consistently. Sim and his nephews started their first Secret Recipe outlet in SS2. These features are what makes a brand truly unique and distinctive compared with its competitors. Indonesia.
. sustainability.” Sim continues. Australia. The company has also been recognised as the Largest Café Chain by the Malaysia Book of Records. We have proven that by our market presence. referring to Australia. In 2007. “I am very excited about this venture because it will be our first western market. cultural differences. we must identify the features of a brand that (can) extend beyond. “We had to prove we are as good.000 employees. identity and brand promise are the ingredients that drive and grow our company. in 1997. research and development.” says Sim.” he says. “Differentiation. We plan to have three there in the first year.“Secret Recipe is a brand that is easily acceptable as our products and menus are adaptable in any market. and had to compete with more established names from the United States. it is a product category that is fun and anyone can enjoy.” he says. including 50 overseas. marketing strategies. Sim recalls that when the Secret Recipe brand was first introduced in Singapore in 2000. Petaling Jaya. adding that it now has outlets in Singapore. interior design and customer service standards. corporate colour. consistency. Today.” he adds. Secret Recipe Cakes & Cafe has grown from just one outlet with a staff of two to 200 outlets.
com.my/news/story.It grabbed several international awards such as Indonesia’s Best Restaurant Award 2006 given by Yayasan Penghargaan Prestasi Indonesia. this is to show that we are truly a Malaysian brand. Secret Recipe cafes not only offer a wide variety of cakes. Best Casual Dining Restaurant of The Year 2007/2008 by Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards and Philippine Tatler Best Restaurant 2008 by The Philippine Tatler Magazine. That’s why you can find Malaysian favourites like nasi lemakand mee goreng in some of the overseas outlets. adding to the 15 it currently has in the island republic. the cafe’s concept is flexible. hence different menu items are offered in different countries. noting that overseas customers are under the impression that Secret Recipe is a western brand.thestar.asp?file=/2009/3/21/business/3471796&sec=business
.” Sim says.
http://biz. “In a way. Sim says there are plans for three more outlets in Singapore this year.