Entrepreneur

Meet The Team That Put A Boeing 737 In The Heart Of KL And Turned It Into A Restaurant

  • 2Spicy Entertainment is the company behind Plane In The City and Dinner In The Sky.
  • They started off as a small events company that focused on concerts, but pivoted after the FMFA incidents. 

Back in 2014, the events industry in Malaysia was shaken by the deaths of 6 individuals attending the Future Music Festival Asia (FMFA).

Although the deaths were later found to have been caused by heatstroke (not rampant drug use, as was widely spread), the events scene in Malaysia took a blow, with multiple concerts and festivals being cancelled in the years following that.

As a small event planning and management company whose core business was concerts, 2Spicy Entertainment was also affected by what had gone on.

Having brought in and organised events with headliners like Pitbull and the late Avicii, they were no strangers to the stricter Malaysian laws, and the difficulty of managing large scale events that could abruptly be axed at the last minute.

After having one of their own events cancelled, they knew things had to change.

CEO Arvin Randahwa told us, “That’s when we realised that this is a dangerous and risky business, because at any moment your event could get cancelled.”

This realisation led them to research other non-concert events, and that’s when they came across the idea that would become key to their new direction.

Dinner In The Sky was first launched in KL in 2015, and it was a hit. At one point, it had 15,000 people on its waiting list.

Image Credit: 2Spicy Entertainment

Diners were tickled at the idea of being raised regally aloft up 50 metres high to views of the KL skyline, being entertained and fed. It was definitely a unique experience for many Malaysians (Dinner In The Sky is the first dining in the sky concept in Southeast Asia), which is exactly the creed 2Spicy Entertainment now operates by.

“We not event planners. We provide unique, first-time experiences in Malaysia,” said Arvin.

Taking Off With New Ideas

More recently, 2Spicy has also kicked off Plane In The City, a fine dining experience that takes place on an actual Boeing 737, right in the middle of KL City.

Image Credit: Plane In The City

When asked about what it took to pull that off, Arvin laughed.

“We’re super proud of the plane. You see, Dinner In The Sky is something we brought from abroad, a franchise. The Plane In The City is a homegrown product, it’s Malaysian, it started from scratch.”

The entire project, from idea to completed execution took 6 months, and 3 months were spent just looking for a plane.

“It’s not a makeshift plane, it’s an actual plane. We could have built a plane structure ourselves (that would have been cheaper), but what we are proud of is that it’s an actual airplane,” said Arvin.

As a 5-year-old company, one of 2Spicy Entertainment’s major milestones is that they have 3 records in The Malaysia Book Of Records including one for The Largest Maze in Malaysia for The Maze Challenge Asia and the First Aeroplane Restaurant in Malaysia for Plane In The City.

Arvin shared a little about how the team comes up with the ideas and executes them. It starts with constant research. They look out for ideas that have never been done in Malaysia. Sometimes, they put their own unique spin on events. For example, when runs were constantly being organised, they decided to put up a maze-style obstacle course instead.

The next step for the 2Spicy team is ensuring that the idea engages our five senses. They ask questions like “is it visually appealing?”, “what does a person first hear when they walk in?”, “what will they touch?”.

Facing Down Unique Challenges

Because their goal is to provide unique experiences, the challenges that they face are often tied to being the first to introduce something.

For example, for Dinner In The Sky, they had to convince potential diners that the entire rig was safe.

If you’re hoisting someone up into the sky for an extended period and have no walls or safety net, you will probably have to reassure them. It did help that the dining in the sky concept had already been well established overseas, so 2Spicy could point to them as proof of safety.

Another challenge that came with organising Dinner In The Sky? Making sure that the view is good, both from the ground, and when up in the air. To check the latter, the team brought drones out, flew them up and checked out the view from above.

One other tricky area to navigate is their events’ popularity. For instance, how do you keep 15,000 potential customers happy when they’re waiting to get a booking?

According to Arvin, they introduced more sessions to accommodate more people and opened up bookings for up to about 5 months in advance.

Looking Towards The Future

2Spicy Entertainment went from organising events where attendees numbered in the thousands, to productions that now have perhaps less than a 100 consumers each day.

Managed by a core founding team of 3 (with Arvin as the CEO, Tommy Lee helming operations as the COO, and Connice Lee managing finances as the CFO), Arvin tells us that they’re happy to keep going down this track.

“When we catered to a bigger audience, and our focus usually was more on the marketing strategy and [the overall experience]. Now, in terms of operations, we are more niche and because it’s a smaller crowd, we can pay more attention to details. In a way, it’s about treating people better and giving a very personalised and premium experience.”

As a closing, we asked Arvin for his views on the local industry.

“There’s a lot more potential to grow, and there should be more engagement with the government sector. People tend to see a lot of restrictions because of certain government rulings and regulations—I feel that the industry is not at its peak potential yet.”

Finally, Arvin also had some words of advice for anyone who would like to hop upon the events’ train.

“When you look at people who are working with events, it might look like it’s fun and glamorous,” he said. “But behind the scenes, there’s actual work to be done. We have deadlines, we have costs to factor in.”

“Think of us like a manufacturing line, except our product is different—our product is the event. We also have to talk to suppliers, we also have to have production plans. It’s just like any other business.”

Feature Image Credit: Plane In The City

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