Connect with us

Interviews

Gwi Terk Chern, Founder of Dinez-in

Published

on

Like most Malaysians, Gwi Terk Chern started his professional life in the corporate world. For 3 years, he toiled as a management associate for Astro before quickly climbing into a senior executive in the strategic finance department. Despite, establishing himself comfortably in the corporate world, Terk Chern felt a greater calling at hand. Being a major foodie in addition to his exposure to multiculturalism, Terk Chern decided to start Dinez-in in an attempt to make a valuable impact in Malaysia through entrepreneurship. The Asian Entrepreneur has the opportunity to speak to Terk Chern today about his startup.

In your own words what is Dinez-in? 

Dinez-in is a platform which helps home chefs share their food with the world, and lead hungry tummies to good old-fashioned home cooking. The Dinez-in difference lies in one word: empowerment. We offer a fully-functioning platform that gives chefs the best support system, providing them with the skills they need to cultivate a sustainable business model. You can sell your home-made foods online, cater for certain events, welcome guests to dine with you, and even teach cooking classes in the comfort of home.

Every kitchen is a story: From the retiree realizing a lifetime dream of running his own food business, to someone who lost her legs in an accident and never gave up, the single mother of one who juggles childcare with making ends meet, to the baking whiz who’s still a student and can’t afford to set up a café just yet–we’re here for all of them. We’re here to give them what they need to make their dreams of self-sustenance and culinary artistry a reality.

How did Dinez-in come about? 

Firstly, our founder – TC loves to cook and eat, mostly eating. On top of that, he is raised in a Peranakan (Baba Nyonya) family with many culinary experts around him. Of all, his grandmother and mother are great cooks and they truly embrace all kind of culture. He had to learn how to fold a ketupak, bake chinese new year cookies, make satay, capati and others since young. He then realised there are so many great recipes just within his family, and believe there will be even more outside.

Aside from that, he is also inspired by the thoughts of homesick. Busy with works, earning money, socializing, chasing dreams; going home, seems to be a luxury. Missing home cooked food is one common phenomenon in this busy city, which then inspires us to create this home cooked online platform. Home is always everyone’s haven.

Lastly and most importantly, as above mentioned, we hope to bring more love to the society. One of TC’s initial objectives of starting Dinez-in is to help those who are in need. We have single mothers, retirees, disables and many more who are underprivileged in our platform; we are dedicated to assist these group of people. By the end of the day, it also helps to increase the productivity of our society and providing more opportunities to them.

Could you walk us through the process of starting up Dinez-in? 

There were many interesting ideas spark my interest back then. However, none of them were solid enough to convince myself that “This Is It”. Only at around middle 2015, I came out with the idea of Dinez-in, and then took around 6 months to conduct some research. In addition, it took me quite a while to convince my wife and my parents with regards to the idea of me resigning from the previous job. Fortunately, they were very supportive.

Did you encounter any particular difficulties initially and if so, how did you overcome it? 

It wasn’t easy to gather the like-minded talents together and work towards the same vision.

In the beginning, there were a lot of experiments to test such as our marketing direction, user interface and user experience, operation flow and others.

At the early stage, the operation works required heavy manpower and caused the extra heavy workload. Therefore, we decided to digitalize some business process and the automation process has significantly lightened our workload.

How have you been developing Dinez-in since the beginning? 

In the beginning of January 2016, it took me another 6 months to gather the right team. William, Head of Tech, and Vee Gee, Head of Operations joined the team of Dinez-in even before we start operating. We are invested for RM200K by an angel investor at May 2016 as pre-seed investment. We had our first team meeting on July, and took another 3 months on the planning of business operations, technology, marketing and strategy. At October 2016, we started operating officially with our MVP. On February 2017, we re-launch again after collected numerous feedback on operation, technology and marketing efficiency.

At the initial stages we only provide the service of dine in, nevertheless we realized the needs of other services from a number of home chefs. Eventually, we have all 4 main products (meals, goodies, catering, and classes) and, both delivery and dine in service available.

What is the process behind developing your products? 

Yes, we are in the midst of designing and developing our first version. We are planning to launch the first Android’s and iOS’s version of Dinez-in mobile app on July 2017. Stay tuned!

Interestingly speaking, our app developers are also deep foodie lovers too! They have been following us everywhere to taste different home chefs’ dishes and goodies.

Do you face a lot of competition in this industry?

Yes, there’re a number of direct and indirect competitors entering the market recently. Nevertheless, we always keep our agility ahead of our competitors. Moreover, we have

Have you developed any industry insights that you could share? 

As spoken, home-cooking is in a growing trend at recent years. Aside from that, dine in and delivery service is also only on a rising trend. What we foresee is that not only café and restaurant, but those talents outside these premises will be more familiar with the

What is the future of the industry and how do you plan to stay relevant in this industry? 

Home cooked foods have its unique market attractiveness. In a few years, home cooked foods will have its own market due to its product differentiation and price leadership. Aside from that, we emphasis a lot of customer experience, we always try to bring the best experience for both our chefs and users.

Were there anything that disappointed you initially? 

I won’t see it as disappointment; it’s more of a motivation to bring us forward. In the beginning, I went through a tough time gathering the right team. Most startups failed because we are short of talents.

What is your opinion on Asian entrepreneurship vs Western entrepreneurship?

Many Asian economic practices are today still very much a reflection of family values deeply rooted in Asian society, with honor being one of the abiding objectives of such practices. There’s a study supported the theory that the possibility to gain face through social status identified with entrepreneurship and lose face through business failure were more prominent in Asia. Culture level shame of failure related negatively to feasibility and desire towards entrepreneurship in Asia. Singaporean and Indonesian interviewer stated that they would only start a business if it was a pledge. To innovate, they would prefer to do it within the protective walls of a larger company.

In most of the Western countries, a common view is that people start businesses in order to innovate. In fact, it is noticed that a negative relationship exists in Western culture that suggests the connection between innovation and entrepreneurship might dampen the desire to start a business. Icons of entrepreneurship like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, who emphasis the importance of innovation, may discourage people who lack an innovative idea to venture their own business.

What is your definition of success?

Success does not define with the state of wealth; it’s more of a state of mind. Success does not have easily defined boundaries. It’s as varied as those who attempt to define it.

In your opinion, what are the keys to entrepreneurial success?

Being an entrepreneur will never be easy no matter in Asia or other places. Many believe that entrepreneurial success happens overnight so the entrepreneurs able to have a shorter working hour, more free time and high income level too. In reality, entrepreneurship means building your business carefully and faithfully a day in day out marathon of work with very little glamour over a period of years. Being an entrepreneur means hardcore perseverance and working extended hours than what a normal employee usually does. In fact, work really never ends when you become an entrepreneur.

When I become an entrepreneur, I don’t expect customers to go crazy about my products or services straightaway. They might even reject it outright for seemingly no reason at all. Being able to handle that elegantly and continuing to try again until you get what your customers want right will be the key to success.

Any parting words of wisdom for entrepreneurs out there from your personal experience?

To the fellow dreamers, it is good to be humble. However, at certain matters, it is impossible for you to keep low profile. If you don’t do some crazy stuff when you’re young, if not, you have nothing to be called memory.

It is an ugly world, when you are in a devastating situation; don’t turn your back to someone who you don’t trust, because there might be a knife stabbed through your chest.

What’s more terrifying is not the fear of failure or power of your strength, but our thoughts staying in the comfort zone. There’s a fine line between modest and norms, being different give someone more motive to persuade others.

Connect

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gwi-terk-chern-b8135539/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tcgwi

Website: https://wiseintro.co/tcgwi

Callum Connects

Jasmine Tan, Director of Stone Amperor

Published

on

Jasmine saves her clients time and effort when doing kitchen fit outs with her biz Stone Amperor.

What’s your story?
I started working in the industry in 2003. I was in a marble and granite supplier company for 5 years. Even though I left the company, I still had customers calling me for my services. I referred them back to my previous company but they refused to because they loved the fast response service that I offered. I realised that customers do look at prices, however most of them prefer quality over quantity. Thus I have decided to establish a sole proprietor company also known as 78 Degrees which later rebranded as Stone Amperor in 2014.

What excites you most about your industry?
The kitchen countertop industry is a very confusing market. There are many brands, materials and prices to choose from. What excites me the most is my ability to help clients choose the best materials and brands within their budgets, whilst saving them time and effort.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I have been in Asia all my life and I love Asia. No matter where you go there is no place like home.


Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I love Singapore. This is because Singapore has always been a stable country and it is great for doing business. However as it is a small country, it can be really competitive. I believe that if just do your best and give your best to your customers, you can overcome this.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Take actions. Learn and improve continuously. An idea without action is just a dream.” This was really good advice that I received from my partner.

Who inspires you?
A very down to earth billionaire from Malaysia, Robert Kuok

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Property is the foundation of every business.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Own instead of renting property for my business.

How do you unwind?
I enjoy going shopping, watching movies and hanging out with friends. I am quite a simple being.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I love going to Taiwan as I love the culture there. Everyone is so polite and the weather is great.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Sun Tzu, Art of war

Shameless plug for your business:
Perfect top, Perfect price, Perfect life from Stone Amperor

How can people connect with you?
Email me at [email protected]

Twitter handle?
@StoneAmperor

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

Continue Reading

Callum Connects

Dextre Teh, Founder of Rebirth Academy

Published

on

Dextre Teh is a consultant and marketing guru, helping F&B businesses to tighten their operations and grow their businesses.

What’s your story?
I help frustrated F&B business owners stuck in day to day operation transform from a glorified operator into a real business owner. I’m a 27 year old Singaporean second generation restaurant owner and a F&B business consultant. Entering the industry at 13 years old, I have always been obsessed with operations and systemisation. At the age of 25, I joined the insurance industry and earned a six figure yearly income. However, I left the high pay behind because it was not my passion and returned to the F&B industry. Now I help other F&B companies to tighten operations and grow their businesses with my consulting and marketing services.

What excites you most about your industry?
The food. I’m a big lover of food and even have a YouTube show on food in development. But that aside, it is really about impacting people through food. Creating moments and memories for people, be it a dating couple or families or friends. Providing that refuge from the daily grind of life. So in educating my consulting clients and training their staff to provide a better experience for their customers, I aim to shift the industry in the direction of creating memories instead of just selling food.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and bred in Singapore. I love the culture, the food and travelling in Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore hands down. The environment here is built for businesses to thrive. The government is pro business and the infrastructure is built around supporting business growth. Not to mention the numerous amount of grants available in helping people start and even grow business. If I’m not mistaken, the Singaporean government is the only government in the world that offers grants to home grown businesses for overseas expansion.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Learning to do things you do not intend to master is a BIG mistake in business. Focus on what you are good at and pay others to do the rest.

Many business owners including myself are so overwhelmed by the 10,000 things that they feel they need to do everyday. We try to do everything ourselves because we think it saves us money. The only thing that, that does for us is overload our schedules and give us mediocre results. Instead we should focus on what we do best and bring in support for the rest.

Who inspires you?
Christopher M Duncan.

At 29, Chris has built multiple 7 figure businesses. He opened me to the possibility of building a business on the thing that I loved and gave me a blueprint of how to do it. He also showed me that being young doesn’t mean you cannot do great things.

Imran Mohammad and Fazil Musa
They are my mentors and inspire me every single day to pursue my dreams, to focus on celebrating life and enjoying the process of getting to where I want to be.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Time is always more expensive than money. Money, you can earn over and over again but time, once you spend it, will never come back.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I am a firm believer that your experiences shape who you are. I am grateful for every single moment of my life be it the highs or the lows, the successes and the failures because all these experiences have led me to become the person I am and brought me to the place that I’m at so I will probably do things the same way as everything was perfect in its time.

How do you unwind?
Chilling out in a live music bar with a drink in hand, listening to my favourite live band, 53A. Other than that I’m big on retail therapy, buying cool and geeky stuff.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bangkok. It feels like a home away from home where the cost of living is relatively low, the food is good and the people are friendly.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Everything you know about business is wrong by Alastair Dryburgh. It is a book that challenges commonly accepted business “truths” and inspires you to go against the grain, think different, take risks and stand your ground in the face of the challenges that will come your way as a business owner.

Shameless plug for your business:
I’m the creator of the world’s first Chilli Crab Challenge. It gained viral celebrity earlier this year with 3 major newspaper features and more than a dozen blog and online publications featuring it in the span of two weeks. In the span of the two weeks, the campaign reached well over a million people in exposure without a single cent spent in ads.

Now I help F&B companies to tighten operations, increase profits and grow their businesses with my consulting and marketing services. Chilli Crab Challenge (https://www.chillicrab.com/nationalday)

How can people connect with you?
You can connect with me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/djtehkh) or visit www.rebirthacademy.sg for more information or book a 10 minute call with me @ www.tinyurl.com/dexclar

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

Continue Reading

Trending