Hafizz Kamaruzzaman, outlet manager of Feeka, chats with The Yum List about life behind the scenes.
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I am the outlet manager of Feeka managing the daily operations from the opening of the cafe till closing. I coordinate the team from the front and the back of the house to ensure the operation of the day runs smoothly.
I started as a hotelier and I realised that I just love meeting people. Making people smile and laugh is important to me. Where else can we find so many people from different countries and different races other than the hospitality industry? As the saying goes, “food and drinks bring people together.” That’s how I decided to stay and create my career path in this industry.
What is your philosophy on service?
To meet the needs and wants of a customer is like a battle between two worlds. Every service or product is a masterpiece, which could be remembered for a long time. Here, both experience and knowledge play significant roles. To me, it is just like abstract art that only a few people can understand.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
Best: when a customer says, “delicious food, excellent coffee, and great service!”
Worst: when they walk away from the café unhappy
What’s one of the craziest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
There was one day when we were super slammed on a Saturday, started at 9.30 am until 5 pm in the evening, non-stop people coming in and out, getting food and drinks. I remember the order chits were uncounted for the kitchen and for the bar. We prepared the food and drinks like we were prepared to finish it all in one day.
A day in the life of a manager…
I’m at the café at 9 am, have a coffee and an omelette before checking the e-mails, lunch break at 1 pm and go home at 5 pm.
Oh! How I wish it is true. The actual fact is, I take the initiative to come 30 minutes early before the shift starts to open up the store, walk from the front to the back with a checklist, and switch on all the lights and machines and make sure all of the chillers and freezers are in good shape for the day’s operation. First I prepare the mise en place for the bar, calibrate the coffee machines for their best potential for the day, run through the stocks and place orders to the suppliers, run through any pending issues that need follow-ups, check e-mails, send out quotations for events (if there is an enquiry), get involved in breakfast and lunch operations, check on the customers, plan for new products for upcoming months or any special months, handle (if any), give on-the-job training to the team, sometimes I miss lunch breaks, and sometimes I am the last to leave the café.
What do you do for fun?
Going home from a tiring day at work and spending time with my son is fun to me. Whenever I have free time from work, we like to go to the playground in the park near to my house. Watching him laugh, have so much fun, getting dirty is like a blessing. And yes, with him, I’m having fun every day!
What’s something you’d like guests to know about Feeka Coffee Roasters?
FEEKA was adapted from a Swedish word ‘fika’ that means ‘to have a break’. We honour Feeka and we appreciate all the customers who are willing to spend their break time in the café. We will always do our best to make them feel at home, relaxed, and happy while we deliver the best service and a great product to fulfil their needs during their precious ‘to have a break’ time.
What’s your favourite food and beverage pairing?
Poached eggs, salted beef and toast with iced black coffee
What’s your view of the cafe scene in KL?
It’s a really exciting time for the industry. The scene is growing and maturing. Both seniors and juniors make the scene more alive. It’s challenging and it’s a part of the learning curve for me too.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
We are focusing on updating the existing menu by upgrading the food flavours and presentation. We continue to go into the details of our coffee and challenge ourselves by exploring the different type of beans, presentation, teas and other beverages.
And find more interviews with people in the industry just like Hafizz Kamaruzzaman here.