To the average Malaysian, PappaRich would be a familiar name. It’s an eatery known for serving traditional kopitiam food that we grew up with in a more sleek and modern setting. Some could argue that it’s even more comfortable as well.
In recent years, though, the brand appeared to be finding better success abroad than locally despite originating from Malaysia.
But none of this stopped Andy Lim, the CEO of Pineapple Resources Berhad, from bidding for the entire brand in Malaysia and Cambodia in 2023.
Speaking to Vulcan Post, the Executive Director of PappaRich is determined to pave the way for PappaRich’s renaissance.
How? Starting with a full revamp within the next six months, including the introduction of PappaRich Lite.
Taking on bigger roles in the brand
“We have faith and confidence in the PappaRich brand as it was one of the top 10 locally grown F&B brands in Malaysia previously,” Andy claimed.
It’s a simple statement, yet one filled with high hopes for the future. But it’s not unrealistic, as Andy actually has experience in the PappaRich company.
About eight years ago, the 41-year-old entrepreneur and his father (along with some of his father’s friends) started a PappaRich outlet in NU Sentral Mall as a franchisee.
From there, the father-son duo learnt the trades of the F&B industry and soon ventured deeper into the field. And not long after, the skills they acquired allowed them to start a Thai hot pot restaurant called Bhai Jim Jum.
“We believe that given the right emphasis and focus on our strategies coupled with our experience of operating the NU Sentral PappaRich franchise outlet for almost 10 years, we are in a position to take on the challenge of revitalising and growing the brand,” Andy shared.
With that, they embarked on a journey to restore the restaurant’s position as one of top local F&B brands in the country.
From information technology to F&B
Initially, Andy started off his career in the IT industry with 15 years of experience in the IT retail space.
Having managed over 100 IT retail outlets, he’s been accumulating various skill sets throughout the years. This includes skills related to human resources like hiring and commissions schemes.
Coupled with his hands-on role in managing Bhai Jim Jum and its five outlets for half a decade, Andy believes that he has what it takes to revive the once-popular PappaRich brand.
“These experiences I gathered over the years have helped me to form better strategies for locating potential store locations, implementing effective marketing, and most importantly, utilising my sourcing experience to get the best ingredients for our restaurants,” he said.
The latter is actually one of the main challenges the NU Sentral PappaRich outlet faced as a franchisee.
Speaking candidly, Andy explained that at some point, they weren’t able to get support like ingredients from the central kitchen.
This proved to be a huge concern as the outlet struggled to maintain the taste of its menu and subsequently, led to a major loss of regular customers.
“Fortunately enough, a few of the existing franchisees, including my father, exchanged ideas and shared resources to overcome this crisis,” he shared.
Due to this incident, his team at NU Sentral were forced to source for ingredients on their own. And with time, managed to achieve the taste “nearest to the original version” through trial and error.
Introducing a new brand under the group
With that in mind, part of his plans to bring new life to the brand will be focusing on the core of the business—offering customers good food again.
Andy declined to comment too much on it so as to not give the surprise away. But he did tease that the menus will be refreshed and centred on classic and nostalgic Malaysian cuisine.
More interestingly, though, is the introduction of a new sister brand called PappaRich Lite some time this year. This will be under the PappaRich brand but will have its own standalone outlets.
“In our effort to add new [life] to the brand, there will be tweaks of fusion in terms of taste and presentation,” Andy shared.
“The tweaks will be more prominent for Papparich Lite as we aim to cater to a younger customer base, more specifically young working adults in the age range of 25 to 35. We aim to be their top choice for comfortable local food at a more affordable price range.”
Currently, the PappaRich Lite concept is still in the trial stage, but you can get a taste of it at Wangsa Walk Mall. There’s an outlet already established there with plans of more to come soon, including franchising opportunities as well.
Optimistic about what lies ahead
All that said, despite his excitement for these new plans, Andy acknowledged that it won’t be an easy road ahead for the brand.
In his own words, PappaRich has struggled for the past few years which makes gaining back the confidence of previous customers quite challenging.
With the brand being over 20 years old, another obstacle they foresee is getting the acceptance and acknowledgement from the younger audience. This is a valid concern as there are many cafes mushrooming around the country offering good local food.
Not to mention another more notable market competitor being Rich Kopitiam, which was started by PappaRich’s founder, Rich Tan.
But the new Executive Director of PappaRich isn’t backing down from the difficult task ahead. His aim for the brand is to maintain its legacy as a restaurant offering Malaysian delights, but now with an updated fusion twist.
“We believe the market space is big enough for everyone,” Andy said. “We hope to have at least 50 outlets throughout Malaysia in the next five years. [And] since we are also the brand owner for Cambodia, we also hope to see 10 outlets in that region through a potential master franchise as a partner.”
Featured Image Credit: PappaRich