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Hailing from Taiping Perak, Chester Lee always wished to have a café or restaurant before turning 30.

And in 2019, the year he turned 30, he did just that.

Before that, Chester had been a mortgage loan banker by trade.

“Mortgage sales is a high-pressure job because you always have to deal with a lot of high-end customers,” he described the career.

Image Credit: All Day Polo Bun

Working mainly with foreigners, Chester would often travel to Hong Kong, which was great as he’s loved Cantonese movies and music since young.

The banker is also a fan of Hong Kongese food, which is why he chose to specialise in it when he made the decision to pivot.

“Among all the HK food, I choose polo bun to be my signature dish because in Malaysia [we] don’t have many polo bun choices,” he claimed.

Polo buns are also known as pineapple buns, but they have nothing to do with the tropical fruit in terms of flavours. Rather, they’re called that because of their similar appearance.

The popular pastry is featured in many Hong Kong-styled restaurants in Malaysia, but it’s not typically the hero item.

Image Credit: All Day Polo Bun

Plus, Chester shared that he hadn’t been able to find any polo bun in Malaysia that was to his liking.

So, five years ago, Chester quit his banking career and launched All Day Polo Bun with a bootstrapped capital of around RM200,000.

Learning from the masters

Committing to the business, Chester went all the way to Hong Kong to learn the art of polo buns from a famous sifu.

“This is P&C,” he answered when asked about who that sifu was. “What I can disclose is my Sifu [has been] working in HK’s famous cha chan teng called Tsui Wah (翠華) for more than 10 years.”

Following his polo bun baking steps to a tee (but replacing pork lard with butter), Chester was able to gain confidence that All Day Polo Bun would stand out in the marketplace.

“I think no one in Malaysia can beat my polo bun,” he proudly said. “And All Day Polo Bun is not only a restaurant that sells HK food, we sell HK culture too.”

Image Credit: All Day Polo Bun

Being skilled in making the dish doesn’t necessarily mean being skilled in running a full-fledged business, though. This is especially the case as Chester has never been involved in F&B entrepreneurship.

“Banking line is totally different with F&B,” he mused.

But Chester believes that being an outsider also gives him fresh ideas, especially when it comes to designing his business in terms of the menu and marketing.

Essentially, he feels like he isn’t tied down by the old-school thinking or rules in the industry.

“I think this is my advantage and this is the difference between me and other F&B owners,” he said.

All day, every day

While polo buns are the name of the business, All Day Polo Bun also offers an assortment of other Hong Kongese dishes.

This means Chester’s restaurant must compete with other Hong Kong-styled establishments, which aren’t all too rare in the Klang Valley.

But Chester is not too concerned about the competition, believing that the core principle of sustaining a restaurant is simply ensuring that the food is good—which he says All Day Polo Bun has achieved.

Image Credit: All Day Polo Bun

After all, that’s what allowed the team to grow to a second store in SS18, which opened in March 2023.

Chester reveals that by aggregating the orders from both stores, they can hit up to 1,000 buns per day on weekends.

To support this volume, All Day Polo Bun has a total of 20 staff members for both stores. Chester now focuses more on the central kitchen’s food preparation as well as marketing. 

Image Credit: All Day Polo Bun

Given his success, the founder confidently shared that he has no plans on returning to the banking world. Rather, he’d like to fully invest in growing his F&B business, an effort that would require his full focus and concentration. 

Aside from opening the third All Day Polo Bun outlet this year, Chester intends to amp up marketing—not just for their own branding, but for Hong Kong and Cantonese culture overall.  

  • Learn more about All Day Polo Bun here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about F&B businesses here.

Featured Image Credit: All Day Polo Bun

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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)