Tan Boon Wy
In this interview, Tan Boon Wy, CEO of Wy and CO, tells how his career in Food and Beverage began and shares some memorable moments along the way.
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I am the CEO of Wy and CO. We manage a group of F&B companies including Eight Ounce Coffee, established back in 2013 and more recent launches, Tapestry, Krung Thep and Tickets at Republik Damansara Heights.
It almost feels like an invisible hand guiding me away from my career in finance to this industry. Looking back, it could have been my upbringing as my family has always been in the service industry, from restaurants to cafes and sundry stores. With frequent travels, and having roamed the corridors of hotels at a young age, I suppose the fascination never left me.
Why did you start with Eight Ounce Coffee?
I used to walk to university, and on my journey, I’d always pass by this bustling little cafe in Covent Garden which almost permeated the street with its aroma. I never ventured in, but one day, I decided to, and my life was never the same again. This little bean had so many variants and complexities that tickled my fascination. Three years later it led to us opening our first Eight Ounce Coffee Co. outlet.
What’s your most memorable moment behind the scenes?
When we were about to open PS150 at Petaling Street, and given that it used to be a brothel, previous patrons would ask if we were reopening for business. And this was in 2015 in the heart of KL!
What’s something you’d like guests to know about your group of F&B companies?
We are just a humble Malaysian group, showcasing Malaysia in its glory, from ingredients, talent to materials.
Local flavours are introduced in our food at Tapestry, and beverages at PS150, using local produce and indigenous herbs to this region. Within our workforce, we showcase as much Malaysian talent as possible and our outlets are drizzled with Malaysian artefacts such as woods from old kampung houses to local contractors and crockery suppliers.
What’s the best part of your job?
Much like our customers’ requests, interaction with customers can be varied and diverse. We work in an industry where we serve Human Beings, with that, every day becomes almost an adventure.
The perfect day off would be…
To feel like a customer. Every day, I try to go out and experience as many restaurants and keep myself up-to-date with the latest openings. Although what excites me the most is to come back to our own establishments and enjoy the space we built, just like any customer.
A day in the life of an entrepreneur is…
We find ourselves having to shift gears continually having to think about systems, marketing, operations and finance. It never really ends, but when it does and when we reflect at the end of the day, it is definitely worth it!
What do you do for fun?
Being in the service industry, we are constantly experiencing new experiences from food to travel to understanding new sports. Just absorbing culture in itself is fun. Although a recent hobby of mine has been to go Motor Crossing. It’s not quite an extreme sport, but it does get the adrenaline going slightly.
What’s your view on the food and beverage scene in KL?
We’ve got some amazing talent in Malaysia or KL, but we are not held to the same accolades as Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand. We hope that we perch Malaysia forward.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
We are intending to optimize some of our existing businesses and introduce a couple more business units before the end of the year. So busy, busy busy!
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