The last time we spoke to Scott and Lynnneve, TalkCrab’s founders, they told us their plans of opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant for their Instagram-based business that was delivering fresh and cooked crabs.
That was in October 2021. They’ve since made it a reality, with a full-fledged restaurant in Kepong.
Here’s how the young couple got to this point.
Adapting to the situation
Previously, the brand’s future was only discussed casually as the founders dared not dream too big with the limited resources they had.
However, the brand’s growth would far exceed the founders’ initial expectations. At their peak, they were making a six-digit revenue per month, they had shared.
But as MCO became a thing of the past and dine-ins were slowly allowed again, the duo noticed that their delivery business started declining by about 40%.
It didn’t take long before they realised that the change was just out of old pre-pandemic habits. It seemed that many customers still preferred to dine out instead of doing takeaway.
At first, Scott and Lynnneve were understandably hesitant to start a new business model alongside TalkCrab’s online delivery service.
After all, there were different factors to consider when running an online and offline F&B business at the same time, but they took the demand from customers as encouragement.
“We weren’t sure that we were ready. We just knew that it was the right thing to do,” the founders explained.
So, pooling together funds from their own pockets and two other friends, they opened up the first TalkCrab restaurant outlet.
One venture, two stakes
Navigating between the brand’s online business and physical store came with its set of challenges. This made balancing the two business operations hard in the beginning.
What Scott and Lynnneve learnt while running TalkCrab virtually had to be relearnt and adapted to fit the livelier pace of a restaurant. For example, the food preparation for a physical store greatly differs from an online venture due to its unpredictability.
Were there going to be more or fewer customers than the day before? What and how much should be prepared in advance to prevent wastage and losses?
Another example of their difference is the instant response required from an in-person customer service procedure as opposed to an online one. Solutions have to be tailored on the spot and require Scott and Lynnneve to be quick on their feet in problem-solving.
Entrepreneurship is continuous learning
Their past two years in the F&B business have taught them a great many lessons when it comes to running a startup, which they candidly shared with us.
The first being the importance of having people skills, specifically in people management. Ask any successful businessman and they will say that employees are the backbone of the company. “Your staff will ensure operations run smoothly, [so] keep the workplace healthy”, the founders advised.
According to them, one way they do this is by ensuring that TalkCrab’s team is appropriately compensated monetarily, with expectations that they perform up to par, of course.
Scott and Lynnneve also impart their business knowledge as a way to educate the whole team and bring them closer to their personal goals.
This is similar to what we previously reported last year about the seven most valued company benefits for employee retention in Malaysia. Unsurprisingly, it’s been working in the duo’s favour so far.
The second lesson is one that’s echoed time and again—perseverance is key.
They explained that there are always going to be hard times ahead, regardless of which field you get into. While most people would assume that funding was the biggest obstacle when building up TalkCrab, it was actually the willpower needed that they struggled with.
Lastly, Scott and Lynnneve empathised with other small business owners and their fear of moving past the familiar.
It’s natural to be sceptical and nervous to take that next step, but they assured, “If your product or service has proven to give value to customers, do not be afraid to expand.”
It’s an ocean of opportunity
With things looking up for the team at TalkCrab, their first-year goal for the restaurant is to gain back a good return on their investment. There are also talks of possibly opening a second outlet somewhere around Subang or Kuala Lumpur.
That said, there are no near future plans to leave the delivery business as its prospects and outlook remain high.
“We will never leave the delivery business because it has unlimited volume compared to dine-in, which is limited by the number of tables available [to host customers] at a time,” Scott and Lynnneve shared.
So even with the restaurant only under two months old, they’re strengthening their delivery business too. To boost the sales of their deliveries, TalkCrab is currently offering free deliveries across Kuala Lumpur for every purchase of RM200 in a single receipt.
With these strategies in place, the company seems to be on a good path toward continued success.
Featured Image Credit: TalkCrab