CEO Series

How This ACCA-Certified Accountant Used A Family Recipe To Start A M'sian Froyo Chain

  • Yzen is a Malaysian brand of frozen yogurt started by former accountants Raymond Chan and Yeany Wong in 2017.
  • Yzen’s frozen yogurt uses purple sweet potato as a sugar substitute to make their frozen yogurts healthier and better-tasting.
  • There are currently two outlets—one in Cyberjaya, and one in Subang, with five more planned by the end of 2019.

There was a point in time where dessert-lover and ACCA-certified accountant Raymond Chan used to consume ice-cream in large quantities. Using his little ice-cream maker at home, Raymond would prepare himself batches of ice cream that he’d consume himself every week.

“Eventually I decided that this lifestyle couldn’t keep going on as the extra calories started reflecting on my waistline!” he joked.

Caught in a quandary, Raymond eventually remembered that his family had been in the habit of making their own yogurt for years.

“This was when I started experimenting how to make frozen yogurt by using my family’s special recipe,” he said. “Of course, it wasn’t simple as the handling of yogurt is a very delicate process.”

“So we hired a consultant from the USA who was in the frozen yogurt industry to provide proper guidance and advice on the formulation, production, and storage of yogurt.”

Eventually in late 2017, Raymond teamed up with Yeany Wong, another accountant and dessert lover, to create Yzen—their very own brand of frozen yogurt—with their very first outlet in Cyberjaya.

In trying to set themselves apart, Yzen create their frozen Yogurt using purple sweet potatoes as a substitute for sugar to give it a sweeter and creamier texture without the added calories. Additionally, they also include high amounts of probiotics (2.9 billion per gram) to back up the point of their product being a healthier alternative to other desserts like ice cream and cakes.

Image Credit: Yzen

According to the provided list of benefits, one cup of Yzen’s frozen yogurt provides the daily required amount of probiotics at a price point of RM5.90 per small cup (regular cups cost upwards of RM13.90 and larger cups cost RM17.90 and above), somewhat competitively priced compared to other similar frozen yogurt brands in the market today.

Making The Idea Work

Addressing the issue of the fickle nature of food trends, Raymond and Yeany both said that they were confident enough in their product to survive in a Malaysian F&B industry with no shortage of dessert options.

“We believe we stand out because we provide a healthier option for dessert lovers,” they said. “Rather than seeing this as a risky market, we see this as an opportunity seeing as a healthier lifestyle is now becoming the trend for both the older and younger generations.”

Image Credit: Yzen

And instead of wanting the market all to themselves, they also welcomed the prospect of having more options in the local frozen yogurt scene, with the idea that more options would also mean more awareness and mindshare amongst consumers.

“We believe that with more players in the market, more people will be aware of the benefits of frozen yogurt,” they added. “We’d like to work with our competitors to spread the good word about frozen yogurt and how it’s a healthier option to ice cream and other desserts.”

“Of course, we also believe that our special product with its premium taste gives us a competitive advantage.”

Encouraging Signs

Right now the challenge faced by Yzen is keeping up with the hectic pace of the F&B industry. As a brand just over a year old, Raymond and Yeany are constantly against the clock when it comes to growth.

“As a new company growing at a fast pace, our biggest challenge is time,” they said. “We’ve had to do everything from management, finance and administration, human resource, training, marketing, graphic design, to research and development.”

“But we’re blessed to have gotten the right people to do the job—that itself was another obstacle.”

Image Credit: Yzen

And on the subject of growth, Yzen are enjoying a healthy reception to their frozen yogurt products, something Raymond and Yeany are using as encouragement for future expansion plans.

“Without any marketing and purely through word-of-mouth and good feedback, we managed to hit six figures in revenue in September,” they revealed. “The most satisfying part about this is the fact that we opened in Tamarind Square in Cyberjaya for only 40 hours a week on average.”

“When we were in Cyberjaya, we even had customers calling us to find out our exact location,” they added. “The good feedback encouraged us to expand to our second outlet in SS15 within three months.”

Expansion Plans, Upsized

Moving forward, Raymond and Yeany revealed the strategies that they plan to use in order to remain sustainable in the long run, with the first being the decision to maintain premium standards on all their products.

“Our aim is to deliver a good impression to our customers and the public,” they said. “Many people have the perception that we’re an overseas company, but we’re proud to say that we’re home-grown.”

Currently, they claim that they use ingredients imported from overseas and create their sauces in-house without the use of additives or preservatives.

“Being able to save on franchise and royalty fees lets us deliver premium ingredients to our consumers.”

Also, they plan to leverage on collaborations and membership schemes to create better market engagement.

“We’re now in talks with many other corporations, and are targeting cross-marketing with brands that also focus on a healthy lifestyle, they said. “This will further highlight our cause to the community and help us achieve our vision of promoting a healthy lifestyle.”

They also currently have a family membership plan which is free to join that provides customers free frozen yogurt on their birthdays, a further 20% off any purchase during the birthday month. Also, customers will get 10% off their total bills as future store credit.

Yzen’s second outlet in SS15 opened in July this year / Image Credit: Yzen

“We’ve had steady customer growth since the introduction of our family membership,” they said. “We’re focusing on building a strong loyal customer base, and we’re going to have a lot of interactions with Yzen family members through other activities that promote healthy lifestyles.”

As for future plans, Raymond and Yeany hope to open five more outlets in addition to their current two by the end of 2019 with plans to open in Setapak Central Mall well on schedule.

“We’re confident that we’ll be able to stand out as the go-to frozen yogurt treat that everyone loves,” they said. “We also want to create a culture where a dessert with so much benefits like ours can be consumed daily at an affordable price.”

“We aim to be in every major mall in the Klang Valley, and then expand to the East Coast, East Malaysia, and subsequently overseas.”

Feature Image Credit: Yzen

 

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