25.6 C
Brunei
Thursday, February 9, 2023
25.6 C
Brunei
Thursday, February 9, 2023
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    Rising above COVID restrictions

    Lyna Mohammad

    Since the onset of COVID-19 outbreak last year, much has been said about the coronavirus, particularly the impact it has had on businesses and how they have been affected by the restrictions enforced as authorities work to contain its spread in the country.

    The business community accepts the restrictions with open hearts and open minds, as everyone understands that what the nation is doing is for the betterment of all.

    Last year, with public gatherings put on hold, hotels and function halls as well as food and beverage providers were badly hit as there were no events to cater for due to the restrictions; some restaurants were forced to fold.

    Impressively, Sambal King was born when the nation was at the early stage of the COVID-19 battle. Owner Hadzham bin Haji Hassan and his wife were catering to mainly weddings at the time.

    “As catering business was slowing down – well, too slow actually – my wife and I decided to find an alternative source of income to sustain the catering business. We thought of something affordable with a taste of Bruneian,” said Hadzham.

    With this in mind, they began to sell the local favourites, nasi katok, but with their signature recipe, – daging rendang hitam accompanied by hot spicy sambal which soon became a bestseller.

    As they started their journey in a bid to survive the epidemic, the feedback flooding in was positive.

    The couple employed the all-ear approach by trying their best to accommodate their customers and find ways to improvise.

    They initially sold through relatives and friends. The reception was amazing, leading them to opening up online orders for about two months, after which many customers requested for them to set up a stall and this is when they decided to put up a stall; and it was the beginning of Sambal King.

    The couple are relieved and grateful to Allah the Almighty for the positive outcome of their venture in not only surviving the outbreak but also in being able to offer jobs to the youth.

    Seeing positive developments in their bold move to operate a nasi katok stall at the time when the market was already saturated with the same business model, they plan to spread their wings by opening more branches.

    At the same time, Sambal King also hopes to extend their operating hours, from 8pm to a much later hour, when they secure more crew members.

    The priority remains in customer satisfaction; and operating without enough help may lead to customer disappointment instead.

    Having listened to their part of story, I headed down to the stall to try out the famed nasi katok and took time while waiting to have a casual talk with a couple of customers who were waiting in line, most of whom said that one of the unique things about Nasi Katok Sambal King is the sambal itself, and which is how it got its name.

    “I am not sure how others prepare theirs, but for me, my sambal is homemade and freshly prepared daily, and the hot selling one is the sambal pusu which the customers like because it’s kind of an ‘old school’ recipe. Sambal pedas is hot and spicy; another customer favourite. I guess most Bruneians are really into spicy food,” said Hadzham cheerfully.

    “In this line of business, you need to be strong-willed and determined. Avoid negative thinking and put trust on yourself that you can do it and most important things is your doa and tawakal and listen to customer feedback.

    “Failing once does not mean you will fail again. Keep on doing it until you succeed. Never follow the view or attitude of other business operators and always stay humble. Listen to customer feedback, treat them well and never argue with a customer,” he added.

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