Once Upon A Café

I am patronising a new café in Johor Bahru and many thoughts came to my mind.


I realised that when we were opened, we were totally not ready for it. We had no know-how to churn out sandwiches, pizzas and coffees professionally. Yet, we pulled it off even on the opening day with many bosses from the other specialty cafes in town dropping in to experience what this Singaporean entrant had to offer.

On hindsight, I could have organised the kitchen better, R & D-ed more and produced better quality food and beverages. Business sense, one would not see sense as time is money – fastest fingers first. I saw that. Despite the lacklustre F & B offering, we have full house crowds on many December nights. Could that just be the festive mood that draw customers to my cafe? Probably so. The success of the launch was the fanfare we created and glorifying our success shamelessly on social media. We justified and redefined success – our way.

Did my customers complain about the food and beverages? Definitely. Did customers continue to lend their support in spite of our lacklustre performance? Yes. So, what was the success formula?

Unity. The unity of the team and the shared vision of the café’s success carried it forward despite different views of where the business was eventually going to head. The launch, the programme line up, the positive energy we exhibited were undeniable. That was what I believe the café’s success – genuity, generosity and gratitude. We made friends with our customers, responded to their comments and take every feedback seriously and acted on them promptly. We made every customer our member (even for some who spent a tad less). We are like one big family. Cliché, yet true.

For the upcoming expansion, I am partnering with people who share the ideas of unity, honesty and truthfulness. These people see every individual as an opportunity that translates to possibility having the willingness, strength, desire and selflessness to do above and beyond what they could collectively as a team.

Create value in people shall be our core value.


Cappy & Churros, Sir? I’ll Pass.


Cappuccino & Churros

Sunshine after the rain… how apt. Crossing over to a familiar yet forgettable land for a cuppa, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgia welling up all of a sudden in my heart.  As much as I would like to put the past behind, bits and pieces of my dream-turned-reality begin to come together like a little child piecing up his jigsaw puzzle.  It is wonderful to experience the deja vu all over again albeit alone.

Musing over how I put together the cafe from naught, I let out a grin as I savoured my very first churros across the Causeway here in The Replacement – Lodge & Kitchen.  The pastas, pizzas, soups, salads, cakes and coffees that I churned out for my cafe in the Christmas month in 2013 were my greatest encouragement and achievement dabbling in the demanding F & B industry.  As I now take a back seat from this industry, I am thankful that it worked out beyond anyone’s imagination.  Yes, Ryan – somehow – can cook! 😁

“But, you don’t have a culinary background or training… you are not certified… you are only a teacher… you are too soft… you are not cut to be in business… you are rocking the boat… you…”

I did it… and again I say, I did even more!

The cafe has taken off and upon that movement, The Tutor is another truly remarkable success.  It has successfully touched the lives of 100 students upon its one year inception.  What is even more remarkable is the fact that it does not attempt to leverage on the social media or online marketing to echo its authenticity, reliability and quality teaching and learning experience.  Instead, the intentional teaching has garnered trust and support from both parents and students alike.  This is something unprecedented worthy of replicating!

The Tutor is getting ready for a mighty expansion.  We need your support like never before.  We endeavour to bring to you a new wave of learning experience that will greatly benefit our present and new learners.  Please appear before us to share our vision to bring quality teaching and learning to the young by joining us as Teaching Professionals whether you may or not have the credentials.

We love to hear from you soon!