Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Malaysian International Franchise Fair

Last week, a Malaysian International Franchise Fair was held at Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC). At the same day and same venue, there were also a PC Expo and 2 other exhibitions. So, there was quite a fair bit of crowd at PWTC over the weekend.

I played tag along with an ex-colleague who is keen to venture into her own business after being tired of working for others. Basically, it was a visit to the fair with an intention to source for something interesting and worthwhile exploring further. Franchising a business can be said to be a safer bet to start off a business since the brand and the business has already being established. There is already a market for the business and potentially ready clients.

Upon arriving at PWTC, we followed the directional sign and headed to third floor where the fair is supposed to be. When we wanted to enter the fair, we were stopped by the security personnel for not having a visitor's pass (doh!). We were intucted to head to ground floor and register ourselves in order to get a entry pass. While filling up the form, I realised that I ran out of my own business card. Luckily I have 2 of my suppliers' cards. I passed on my supplier's card as mine and gained myself an entry pass (hehe!!). "Hello Mr Hong!", my partner to the fair teased me.

Once we have stepped into the fair, we were quickly disappointed. We were expecting a big show but the number of participants for the fair were really pathetic. There were so few exhibitors to be really calling this an international franchise fair! What happened to a few notable franchisors? I did not see Old Town Cafe, 1901 Hotdog or even Nelson Corn-in-a-Cup! All I see were some lesser known or second tier franchisors' booths.

Consumer Tribunal staff ready to advise those who wants to know more

Anyway, since we have arrived at the fair, we took a tour round the exhibition hall and visited the booths there. We stopped at a frozen yogurt franchisor's booth since healthy food stuff like yogurt is an "in-thing" now. A few frozen yogurt operators have been operating in town lately. Tutti Frutti is one of the bigger frozen yogurt chain in town. I was surprised to know that the Malaysian franchise for this American yogurt brand was secured by NAZA Group. I have tried a few yogurt outlets in Klang Valley, namely Froyo, Snogurt & Tutti Frutti. I must say that I simply love this healthy dessert but the price in rather on the high side in Malaysia.

Marry Brown's booth

DSC01886 Daily Fresh's van is doing brisk business while looking for potential franchisee

Daily Fresh set up a van selling its food & beverages while inviting potential visitors to enquire about their franchise scheme.

Moving around the hall was not an issue since it was not drawing huge crowd. I bet the PC Expo a floor below attracted more visitors that this fair. Overall, I estimated that there were less than 100 exhibitors in the fair, probably closer to 70. What also surprised me was that except for 1 banker, no other banks took part in this fair. I would have thought that banks would be interested in extending loans and financial services to those who are keen to take up a franchise. Also missing were agencies who could provide foreign workers' services to the franchisee. Would it not make sense to have an agency who can provide manpower solution to the franchisee to be at this fair? I am STUMPED! Were the exhibitor or the relevant ministry not putting enough effort in getting quality exhibitors?

Anyway, visiting the fair was a good experience for me since I managed to get some information pertaining to franchise as well as brochures on information for intellectual property. Will definitely take some time out to read those leaflets before they start to collect dust ;-)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dinner at Home’s Kitchen

My GPS was misdirecting me when I was in Puchong. It took me quite a while to get to the exact location of Home’s Kitchen….

After an afternoon of house-keeping workout in my wife’s apartment at Villa Pavillion, we decided to give it a try of the food in Home’s Kitchen which I bought a few weeks ago from Groupon. The deal was

3-Course Chinese Meal for 2 at Home’s Kitchen for RM20 instead of RM46

The food looks great and since I hardly dine at Puchong area, this deal is a reason for me to explore the nice food that Puchong area offers. There was a pang of sceptical though on the price of the deal. Surely, by looking at the 3 dishes being served, I don’t think the meal going to cost RM46 if you ordered them ala carte. For a plate of stir-fry vege, a tofu and a fish curry, I would think RM35-40 would be a decent price to pay (including rice and tax).

Putting my doubts aside, I bought 3 coupons for this meal. But, for this round, I wanna try out the food here first before getting the rest of my family members to Home’s Kitchen and try out their food.

Again, this forgetful chap has left his camera at home and not able to take personal photos of this restaurant. I resolved to taking the pictures from Groupon to blog about the food here…


We arrived at Home’s Kitchen around 6:10pm, rather early for dinner but this place was already serving 4 tables of hungry diners. I didn’t count exactly how many tables the restaurant sits but I roughly estimated around 10 tables (round and rectangle included) inside the restaurant while those who prefer to dine alfresco, one can opt to sit outside the restaurant (3 tables available). As I was sitting down and showing my coupon to the waitress, my eyes were scouting around the place and looking at the deco. Home’s Kitchen has simple deco, not lavishly furnished. The wall behind the cashier counters hanged 2 photos of the owner, taken with some hosts of local food programme. The furniture are very oriental feel with marble top tables matched with Chinese wooden chair. The place does evoke some Oriental feel with these furnishings.

Service was fast though! In less than 10 minutes, the food, drinks and rice arrived. First to come were the tofu and stir-fry vege.


Tofu with minced meat, shallots, dried prawns

The tofu looked very appetising. It was deep-fried on the outside and very soft on the inside. The tofu was specially made with egg to give it an even smoother texture and you will find some small bits of century egg in it too. The tofu came with a gravy of light soya sauce and oil as a base. It was topped with spring onions. and garnished with lettuce.


Stir-fry vege

The stir fry vege (kangkung) was a said to be cooked in home made sauce (tasted more like oyster sauce to me though). The vege was a bit overcooked. I like my kangkung with some ‘springy’ feel. It would have tasted better if there was cooked with less gravy and with some belacan to give it more ‘kick’.


Last dish to arrive was the fish curry. The fish head curry came in a a claypot which is how normally fish curry is being served in restaurants. The fish came in small, bite size pieces. Besides the fish slices, there were also bean curds (tau fu pok), lady’s fingers and tomato. The fish curry was a disappointment though as it lacked spiciness. The curry also looked watery. The colour of the curry certainly was far away from the photo here.

Here’s my overall rating of Home’s Kitchen :-

Location 3/5 (If you’re not familiar with Puchong area, a GPS would come in handy since Home’s Kitchen is not facing main road)
Ambient 4/5 (Despite the minimal decoration, the tables and chairs certainly give you an Oriental, homely feel)
Food Price N/A (Since all my dishes were from the discounted coupon, I didn’t order anything from the menu except drinks)
Food Quality 3/5

While waiting for my wife to finish her food, I realised that the pictures on the glass entrance door were actually decorated with photos of the food which were featured in the discount coupon which I bought. The only other dish featured which was not in my coupon is the spare ribs. The next time I come over, I will certainly order this dish to try out. It certainly looks very tasty from the photo. Yummy!