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Serving up a track record of growth
FOOD services company Koufu Group has expanded steadily over the past 16 years to manage a range of food and beverage businesses located primarily in Singapore. Today, the company is one of the most established and largest operators and managers of food courts and coffee shops in Singapore, with a presence in Macau.
''Since our inception, our philosophy has been to integrate modern management discipline into our business while retaining the traditional coffee shop culture, with particular emphasis on providing our patrons with value for money dining options in a comfortable environment,'' said Pang Lim, CEO of Koufu Group.
From managing two food courts and one coffee shop in 2002, Koufu today operates or manages a total of 47 food courts and 14 coffee shops. The company, which listed on the Singapore Exchange earlier this year, has also diversified into other F&B businesses, which includes 81 self-operated F&B stalls, five F&B kiosks, 11 quick-service restaurants and three full-service restaurants in Singapore, as well as one food court, two self-operated F&B stalls and one F&B kiosk in Macau.
One of the company's key milestones was the establishment of its Rasapura Masters food court in Marina Bay Sands in Singapore in 2010. It also established its first overseas Koufu food court in Sands Cotai Central in Macau in 2012.
Koufu's expansion has been accompanied with steadily growing revenue and profit. In FY2017, it registered revenue of $216.7 million, up from $215.1 million the previous year. Meanwhile, profit after tax was $26.8 million in FY2017, compared to $25.9 million in FY2016.
''Our competitive strengths include having complementary business segments with diversified revenue streams, an active manager-operator partnership with quality stall operators and a comprehensive supply chain which facilitates cost management and operational efficiency,'' explained Mr Pang. (see amendment note)
As the industry continues to face challenges such as escalating operational costs, Koufu aims to increase efficiency and productivity through efforts to innovate and automate by adopting more technological solutions.
''We will continue to innovate and automate our processes via the increased use of technology throughout our business and operations, in order to differentiate ourselves in the highly competitive F&B industry and to remain relevant to our customers,'' he said.
This includes improving productivity by establishing an integrated facility and the acquisition of new commercial grade equipment and new information technology systems. Some of the company's technology initiatives include the adoption of self-ordering and payment kiosks, smart tray return robots and RFID tray return system. Koufu is also the first food court manager in Singapore to collaborate with NETS to introduce cashless payment through unified payment terminals.
The company also places strong emphasis on training its employees to equip them with the skills and knowledge to be able to perform according to their scope of work at an optimal level. Among other initiatives, the firm provides regular on-the-job training and technical training to its employees and also conducts courses or sponsors the attendance of employees at relevant courses and seminars.
''We believe that our employees are our most valuable asset in contributing to the continuing success and viability of our group,'' said Mr Pang. (see amendment note)
Looking ahead, Koufu plans to expand and strengthen its presence with new F&B outlets in Singapore and overseas, as well as leverage its network to establish joint ventures and strategic alliances in complementary business segments and markets.
''In particular, we intend to expand and strengthen our presence with new F&B outlets by using Singapore and Macau as springboards for expansion into overseas markets. We also intend to gain access to new markets, strengthen our market position and develop our supply chain through potential vertical integration with key suppliers, manufacturers and other service providers,'' said Mr Pang. (see amendment note)
Ultimately, Koufu's mission is to provide quality food and services to its customers, while staying true to our deep roots in the Singaporean food culture, he added. '''Better Food', 'Better People', and 'Better Life' are the core values in the vision of our group. We have an experienced and dedicated management team with proven track record to expand our core capabilities, network base and geographic reach and ensure the continuing success of our group.''
In the article “Serving up a track record of growth” in the Sept/Oct 2018 issue of SME Magazine, Koufu Group CEO Pang Lim's surname should have been Pang. We apologise for the error.