In this article

From KFC and Texas Chicken to KyoChon and 4Fingers, it’s safe to say that Malaysians love fried chicken, and it’s certainly not in short supply here.

Over the years, many local brands have popped up as well with fried chicken offerings. Darsa Fried Chicken, anyone?

One local option over in East Malaysia is Borenos, which has three locations in Sabah.

The chain was co-founded by Kenji Yeo and his wife, Lynn Tiang, along with his sibling Janice Yeo.

Kenji and Janice hail from the small town of Tamparuli in Sabah, East Malaysia, and had pursued their education in Singapore from a young age through to university.

Despite having spent many formative years in Singapore, the two had returned to their homeland to start something of their own. Kenji himself is a seasoned entrepreneur in the travel tech industry, having founded the SabahTravel.com platform and MountKinabalu.com.

Image Credit: Borenos

His entrepreneurial journey began in 2009 with the establishment of Amazing Borneo Tours, which has since become one of the leading tour operators in Sabah, earning accolades from the Sabah Tourism Board.

Meanwhile, Janice was a self-development trainer in Singapore, where she empowered numerous individuals in their personal and professional lives.

Leveraging their entrepreneurial and developmental backgrounds, the first Borenos outlet was opened in 2015 with a self-funded startup capital of RM2 million.

Something to be proud of

As mentioned, fried chicken options are aplenty in Malaysia.

But for Borenos, it’s not just about being yet another fried chicken purveyor. The vision here was to create a brand that Sabahans and Malaysians can be proud of, with the potential to go international. 

Image Credit: Borenos

“We wanted to create a business that not only serves good quality food and service to customers but provides opportunities for Malaysians to grow and develop,” Janice elaborated.

With this mindset, they consciously chose to go into fried chicken, because it’s such an offering that’s widely accepted by Malaysian consumers.

“Most fast-food brands are from overseas franchisors, leading to capital outflow from Malaysia,” the co-founder said about the industry.

Image Credit: Borenos

“Being a local halal fast food brand, we contribute to the local economy by keeping our capital within Malaysia, thereby supporting local businesses and strengthening the Malaysian Ringgit.”

At the same time, the Borenos team believes strongly in the great talent and potential of the Malaysian workforce. That’s why they invest heavily in training their staff, building them up to the best they can be. 

They’ve started in Sabah, and aim to expand this commitment across Malaysia.

“We are collaborating with local universities to help prepare young people entering the workforce,” Janice said about this mission. “Through these partnerships, we offer training programmes for students, equipping them with the skills and experience needed to begin their careers.”

Differentiating from the rest

While it’s clear that their intentions are different from the others, what about the products themselves?

To that end, Janice stated that Borenos differentiates themselves from other fried chicken brands with their blend of spices, as well as consideration of health-conscious consumers.

“By cutting away excess fat, we offer a healthier, less oily option,” she claimed.

Image Credit: Borenos

The co-founder elaborated that they aim to offer food that is not only delicious and healthy, but also prepared to the highest standards of cleanliness. Additionally, they cook their food in small batches to ensure its freshness.

“We will never compromise on food quality,” she assured. “We will discard ingredients that are not fit for consumption even if it’s newly purchased.”

The signature menu item at Borenos is the Full Spring (whole) Chicken. Another highlight is their 2-Piece Chicken set meal that’s elevated by their special Borenos gravy and mashed potatoes.

One of their bestsellers and crowd pleasers is the Cheesy Chicken Rice, while the potato platter is another signature item that showcases their unique offerings.

Image Credit: Borenos

From families to corporations

Starting out in 2015, Borenos had primarily served families, especially those with young children.

But as trust in their food quality and consistency grew, Borenos began attracting government bodies, banks, hoteliers, corporate groups, and associations to patronise their business. The trust in them is further emboldened by the fact that Borenos is halal-certified.

The co-founder proudly shared that in the time since their establishment, Borenos has served international brands, such as oil & gas companies with stringent compliance. These corporations would order up to 3,000 set meals at a time.  

Image Credit: Borenos

Moreover, the homegrown fried chicken business has also catered for various school events such as Children’s Day and Teacher’s Day.

“There is so much joy attached to people’s experience with Borenos that several of our customers look to us when wanting to donate meals to retirement homes or orphanages,” Janice added.

This growing demand is currently being served by three outlets in Sabah. One in Kota Kinabalu city, one in Papar, and one in Alamesra.

At this moment, there is no central kitchen, and each outlet is equipped with its own kitchen.

Janice revealed that Borenos is set to open a new outlet in Penampang, Sabah in August.

Keeping it under control

As mentioned, the company is actively growing, set to open another outlet in just a couple of months. But what about outside of Sabah?

Image Credit: Borenos

Janice shared that Borenos expects to expand to other states of Malaysia by Q4 this year.

But when it comes to expansion, the company wants to be hands-on with it for now, going with self-owned outlets instead of a franchising or licensing model.

“For now, we want to maintain full control of the business so that we can continue to grow the core and support teams to oversee and ensure consistent quality and service across all outlets,” Janice explained.

With this attentiveness and intentionality, the team hopes to become a household name and a beacon of pride across Malaysia one day.  

  • Learn more about Borenos here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about F&B businesses here.

Featured Image Credit: Borenos

Subscribe to our newsletter

Stay updated with Vulcan Post weekly curated news and updates.


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

© 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.)