With a company comprising 1,500 current employees and a plan to hire another 1,500 over the next 2 years, Bryan Loo of Loob Holding understands the importance of maintaining a good company culture.
He described in an interview that the DNA of Loob Holding is built upon 4 values: entrepreneurship, passion, teamwork and honesty.
Affectionately calling his employees “Loobies”, he told us that those 4 values are at the core of a Loobie’s DNA.
Beyond The Name
“Loob” is not without meaning itself, as Bryan explained, “A lot of people think that it’s from my surname, or Loo brothers, or Loo Bryan, but it’s actually ‘Looking out of the box’.”
Constantly “looking out of the box” enables the company to question themselves hard enough to decide on what it would take to build a particular sort of organisation for the future.
“We only want to do and see things very differently from the industry,” he said.
This way of thinking has led to Loob Holding being the company it is today. “When we continue to do and see things differently, it becomes the talk of the town and creates a lot of PR value for the company.”
In Bryan’s eyes, the road to free PR is by creating a brand worth talking about. “Always think like a poor man,” he described his mindset.
The company’s beginning days definitely played a role in shaping the way it operates today as they weren’t given a great head start.
In the early days, Bryan admitted that he often questioned himself because he didn’t receive a lot of financial support from his family and could only open one outlet. There was also the intimidating competition of retail giants who commanded the market to worry about.
“We were just budding entrepreneurs who wanted to create one bubble tea store,” he recalled.
Even from the start he knew that Loob Holding was to be a people-company with entrepreneurship at the heart of the organisation.
Everyone who enters the company must build an inner entrepreneurship spirit to develop. To Bryan, an entrepreneurship spirit is not just about speaking the words, “I want to be an entrepreneur in the future.”
“It’s all about any individual being able to get things done with limited resources—that’s entrepreneurial.”
Starting out without guidance is common for entrepreneurs, but continuous training of skillsets along the way is important for growth.
Cultivating Budding Entrepreneurs
The way Loob Holding structures its training module is based off its business model.
“Even if we’re in the F&B space, we’re very selective of the portfolios that we want,” Bryan said.
The portfolios of business models that Loob Holding looks for must have these 4 characteristics:
- Fast-moving products,
- Fully-automated processes,
- Highly-scalable so more outlets can be opened up in a smaller amount of time
- A small format where chefs are not required and the businesses are not restricted by rental space sizes.
Bryan takes their chosen business model as a guide for creating Loob Holding’s training programs.
“From a simplified business model, it leads into training that is also technically quite simple,” he added.
“We can train 50-100 people in a month—training excellence is what we always strive for,” he said.
Training a single individual with no previous F&B background used to take Tealive (a Loob Holding brand) 28 days.
“Today, with our multiple integrations of technology and our Kitchen Display System (KDS), we can reduce a 28-day training program to a 7-day one,” he proudly shared.
With a 7-day training program, there’s less worry over trainee dropouts, because the amount of time invested in the trainees is minimal in comparison to the past program of 28 days.
“We’ve streamlined our training module to shorten our training while still keeping it compelling,” he explained.
Loob Holding hopes to be an incubation place for aspiring F&B entrepreneurs—a strategic stepping stone for their entrepreneurial journeys. The company’s proudest achievement is the lives that have been touched through their business.
Bryan hopes his employees will be able to say that they left the company having honed their entrepreneurial skills enough to create something of their own.
Finding The Right Fit
Having an inclusive hiring process is definitely attractive to future employees, so it’s practised at Loob Holding to supplement the ever-expanding company.
“We must build our organisation to be agile enough to take on anyone and bring them into an inclusive training module,” Bryan stated.
However, if the overall hiring process is open to anyone, how does Bryan make sure that the people who come in will be good for the company?
Rather than assertively filtering out people during the recruitment process, he believes in letting all potential candidates come in and figure out for themselves whether or not Loob Holding is a good fit for them.
Another more unusual point to note is that many of the key team players of Loob Holding came from a group of childhood friends, who have stayed along all the way for the ride.
“We want to empower our people on what to do in order to help the company grow faster, rather than just listing ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’.”
Loob Holding’s vision is to become an aspirational company where everyone is working towards something. The company aims to be a progressive one where its destination is clear enough that anyone who joins in at any point in time is able to follow along on the journey while giving it their best.
An ongoing goal is for Loobies to always have career progression, aided by the fact that the company is always expanding and creating new positions.
“Every new pathway that we create, we need new leaders, and the new leaders are always people we handpick internally,” Bryan explained, “This gives them an idea and vision to aim for.”
“As long as they put in enough effort, are game-changers, know how to lead people, and become better leaders, there’s always an area we will pull them into.”
Marrying The New With The Old
Despite the positive implications of integrating new blood into the company, it presents a predicament that Bryan admits is now one of his biggest challenges: bridging the gap between the old and the new.
He wants to ensure that older employees are still able to progress their careers within the company while also giving newer employees the opportunity to lead the company. To him, maintaining a positive approach to such challenges is key to overcoming them.
Bryan harbours no regrets when it comes to how Loob Holding has developed thus far.
“Sometimes I’m more thankful for making wrong decisions because we learn more from them,” he concluded.
“Our goal is to never look back at the things we have done whether it was right or wrong, and always progress.”
- Find out more about Bryan Loo and Loob Holding here.