Monday, September 15, 2008

The Unsung Successful Entrepreneurs: The Beef Noodle Lady

I like reading the stories and lives of the young successful entrepreneurs in Malaysia simply because I draw a lot of inspiration from them... to strive to maybe be as successful as some of them are some day.

But after a while if you've been actively reading things like that you begin to feel that you keep hearing the same stories over and over possibly because.. well maybe there aren't that many of those around but I started wondering why... I mean there are 25 million people in Malaysia, there can't be only like a handful of young successful entrepreneurs.

So I started paying a lot of attention to people around us and this week I'm back in Penang.

I was going for lunch today with some of our Penang Nuffies and we were going to this usual beef noodle stall we always have in Penang. To the locals here it's known as the "Bomba" beef noodle since it's right opposite a fire station.

The person behind the beef noodles is this really young and cute looking girl who looks like she's still in her twenties.
I ordered my food then waited there and started counting the number of bowls she was serving out.

Then I started to do some math to estimate and I really mean estimate how much she makes (I didn't actually ask her... it's rude to ask people how much they make.. haha)

Okay her coffee shop was full and she is the only stall there.

I think the coffee shop can sit about 30 people at one go. She has two sizes for the bowl of noodles she sells. The big one costs RM8 and the small one costs RM6.

I always go during lunch hour but I think she's open in the morning too so lets say for each meal session she has about 3 total table turnovers.

So that's 3 turnovers in the morning and 3 in the afternoon... 6 a day in total. 30 X 6 = 180 people she serves in a day.
She's open 6 days a week so that's about 1,080 people a week and 4,320 people a month. Assuming each person eats only one bowl of beef noodle she sells 4,320 bowls a month.

Now lets say we take the average price of a beef noodle to be RM7 per bowl. That's RM30,240 a month in revenue and RM362,880 a year.

Assuming that of the RM362,880 she makes a year, 60% is used to pay her rent, her ingredients costs and all other costs. She would make about RM145,152 a year or RM12,096 a month just from selling her beef noodles.

Now I don't know about everyone else but if you're making that kind of money in your twenties... you're doing pretty well.

I wonder if I might see her on a magazine cover one day.

Who knows.. perhaps by the time she's 30 she might have a chain of beef noodle restaurants called

"The Bomba Beef Noodle Shop"

And you'll be hearing their ads over the radio.

Sometimes I wonder why so many young people want to go into online businesses... heck... it's brick & mortar or food businesses like these that make the real money!

Like Ming once told me
"It may not be sexy but it makes money".


limcyam said...

... true, but it is not an easy job.

No OT, No annual leave, No MC, No bonus, No increment... no no.. no..

Not my cup of tea.

RT said...

boss stewie, tabalik lah

"1,080 people a week and 4,320 people a day"

KY said...

oi which bomba? I wanna eat!

Boss Stewie said...

limcyam: haha well i guess it depends on personal preferences :)

acey: yah haha thanks for telling me., i corrected it already

ky: at the end of beach street

sarah said...

Lee Iacoca's dad once said that 'When all the other industries fail, the food business will still be going strong, because everyone needs to eat'. Quite true rite?

Unknown said...

i am just not the business-mind fella ><

julie said...

me and my buddies always wanted to open a monkey cafe...which i doubt it will work...hahahaha

YingYang@QS said...

Jom, let's all be hawkers

3POINT8 said...

But then again, the thing about (hawker) food industry is that the chef has to keep on working for the business to survive. If the chef was replaced for some reason, business-owner could lose quite a lot as the there could be change in recipe. Well, i suppose this would not happen if the business owner could devise a way such that the recipe can be easily replicated with relative ease.

Unlike hawker food business, online business can be easily passed on to someone else, no?

[Just an opinion of someone who does not have the oppurtunity to be exposed to the real world of business]

estherlauderlyn said...

oooooo I remember the beef noodle! I think its a corner lot? Haha my relatives brought me there once, and ever since then whenever I was visiting, I'd demand for that beef noodle. *slurp

Brenda B said...

Yea, venturing into food business can earn u alot eh~ Haiz. Don't know what I'm gonna do after graduation.

LeangFM said...

the assumption is everyday in all 6 days has full 3 turnovers but that's not necessarily what happened everyday
so there, a minor deficit

2ndly, 40% profit is actually kinda high, i would put around 25% (around 7560 by ur calculation)

3rdly, you have to be TOP Class delicious to achieve that level, or else, its all deficit
i personally know a hokkian mee(penang har-mee) seller whom have rm3000++ debts to her supplier

1 thing that every1 didnt reliz is the working time
ppl tend to count the working time is the operating hours
but boy, there is alot backstage preparation to do in order to produce a real ho-chiak food

most of the hawkers dun have the proper money management so usually the money just come and go

LeangFM said...

how i know this much?
coz im a son of a hawker

but there's always a bright side,
being a hawker no need to worry of being sack!!

Simon Seow said...

Unless she's use some kind of system to run her business, she won't have time to do other things and the income will stop if she is sick and can't work. My advise is save up the money and invest in property lol.

Isley Chang~ said...

Why beef noddle at that coffe shop is expensive?? (penang inflation more higher than KL??)

RM8 for big and RM6 for small

if it is nice, maybe i dont mind paying more.

Isley Chang~ said...
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Isley Chang~ said...
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Isley Chang~ said...
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Isley Chang~ said...
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OMFG i wanna quit study and start a pork noodle stall immediately!

Yap Chee Hong said...

interesting...i've never seen in from that point of view....

but then there's competition involved in food business and problems like the stall's "secret recipe"

ling ling said...

Wah!!!she is so kaya-raya oh..then i wanna quit my job and sell beef or pork noodle la...>.<

kaioucat said...

She may not be the only person behind the business. There could be 2-3 partners, most probably relatives, who are in the business with her. The RM12k nett profit you calculated would have to be divided among the partners. Or at least paid to them as salary.

Boss Stewie said...

sara: yah that's quite true.. but if all else fails then maybe we'll all be cooking our own food instead of eating out :)

jackson: aihh… it’s okay… you probably make more money than most of us entrepreneurs anyway.. we struggle!!!!

Julie: a monkey café? Please enlighten me!

Yingyang: hahaha lol

3point8: yeah it’s true ler.. kinda like a doctor in a way… if you stop working you stop getting income but hey that’s like all other jobs right? Online businesses I don’t know yet but I'll let you know if I ever find out ok? right now I think I'll be working for a long time

esther: yah! Damn nice right ! Haha

Brenda: Open beef noodle store

Mc_bone: Well okay it’s really an estimate but ok I hear that in terms of gross profit right, most F&B businesses get at least 50%. That means if the coffee costs RM0.50 in ingredients, I sell it for RM1.00. But that’s just what I’ve heard.

So then assuming that’s 50% gone for the ingredients, another 10% I assume will go to her fixed costs. So if her revenue is RM362K a year, 10% of that is RM36.2K a year or about RM3,000 a month. That’s quite a lot right? I don’t think her rent for her stall space can be possibly more than 2K a month, then the rest goes for hiring a server or something.

I guess not all hawkers do well but I’m sure some do. I’ve heard of one in Singapore that drives a Mercedes S500. No joke !!! And well this is really a “gues-timate” of how much she makes.
Whew… and your dad is a hawker? Where ah? What does he sell?

Simon: Yeah I guess but that’s the same for working life as well or other businesses like a law firm. If you stop working then you stop making money. Ish

Allan: Well I don’t know but this one is quite good ah. Quite fehmes
Yeecheewei: lol ! don’t let me influence u dude!!

Yap: haha remember it’s just an estimation ok?
Ling: hahaha yeah I should quit my job too.

Kaio: I don’t know but I always see her alone there wan. Only she’s working and it’s not exactly a business that requires sleeping partners that are just financial investors right? All I see all the time is just her and one person to help her serve the beef noodles.

aL said...

there susah parking! haha.

Ah Beng Crosby said...

The beef noodle is really excellent. If you look around, all the bowls at the end of the meal is clean, not a drop of soup left, that is how delicious it is. RM10K nett profit is the minimum. That I can assure you.

Eximius said...

Actually Penang has a lot of these kinds of small successful food business. I am always amazed by it. Will try this stall next time in Penang.

Fendy Ahmad said...

something to share..

my brother opens a 24-hour clinic.

business is great, monthly revenue is at the edge of 100k and has been doing it for the past few years or so.

but here's the thing, he gotta really be at the clinic ROUND THE CLOCK.. like the first comment said; no annual leave, cannot enjoy weekend with children and it's even no peace of mind to go for lunch or dinner.. sick ppl are waiting!

it's difficult to find replacement because patients only want one specific doctor that they know which they have already shared their world's unknown health history..

but nevertheless like u said, it depends on one's personal preference. my brother takes the money-making opportunity to help other family members who got better idea to start a business.