The 1st ever ASEAN Young Food Entrepreneurs Conference has come and gone. We want to thank you for making it awesome!
AYFE 2015: A Hotbed of Passionate Food Ideas!
We opened the doors to the first ever ASEAN Young Food Entrepreneurs Conference (AYFE 2015) and you - yes! YOU! - came in with big smiles and a hunger to learn what it takes to be in the fast paced food industry. For two days (18 & 19 Nov 2015), AYFE 2015 became an awesome, enlightening platform for knowledge sharing, networking and getting to know the nitty-gritty of the business.
About 500 delegates pre-registered to participate in AYFE 2015. The delegates consisted of a plethora of food lovers - there were people who already ran food businesses big and small and more importantly, there was a bunch of delegates who came to be inspired so they can (soon, hopefully!) open up their own food businesses.
Excellent crowd turnout
Since the focus for this inaugural conference was on how to start a food truck operation, unsurprisingly a lot of the delegates were those that had hopes and dreams to be a food trucker. So AYFE 2015 was the perfect place to start, as we brought in key figures of the local food truck scene as well as regional players to share their experiences and give insider tips on what it takes to run the show. For the food truck scene we featured Danny of La Famiglia and Najee from Thyme Out as well as Adel Ishak of Little Fat Duck and Ku Nizar of Cowboys Food Truck. For a touch of international flavour, we also brought in Mr. Junas Miradiarsyah from the Asosiasi Food Truck Indonesia and Mr. Richie Pham, owner of the Thailand based operation, Bahn Mi Bo.
Food trucks were the focus, so it was only natural that food trucks provided the food!
Also on board to talk about the importance of branding was Silmyi M. Sadek from Brand Geeks Inc. (who also runs a coffee joint called Jumping Billy) who showcased some super important aspects as to why branding matters - for example please don't copy and paste an idea! - and Coach Hasril from the Malaysian Franchise Association to enlighten the delegates about what it takes to grow an independent business into an empire. Dr. Ghazali from SME Banks CEDAR (Centre for Entrepreurship Development and Research) wing was also present to inform the delegates about financing their dream operation.
Coach Hasril talked about how food entrepreneurs can take things further
The highlight of AYFE 2015 was during the second day. We brought in Ms. Nilamsari Setiono, co-founder of the worlds biggest (!!!) kebab chain as the keynote speaker. Affable and friendly, Ms. Nilamsari shared her experiences of starting up with a push-cart and expanding into 1200 outlets worldwide to a highly interested audience. In addition to that, Ren Yi of myBurgerLab was also present during the two days to guide the future food entrepreneurs on using social media to boost sales as well as documenting his experiences opening a MBL outlet in Cambodia. Joining him to talk about regional expansion was the ever cheerful (despite being ill!) Nini Haznita of Kaw Kaw Burger, who's taken her brand into the Lion City, Singapore.
Ren Yi of myBurgerLab, Nita from Kaw Kaw, Honey Ahmad of FriedChillies and Nilamsari from Kebab Turki Baba Rafi
The conference also featured exciting and illuminating Q&A sessions with almost all the speakers, with delegates getting the opportunity to field burning questions to the people who have been there, done that. It was very engaging and many delegates were satisfied to get answers to some of their most wanted questions - how do you start? How much does it cost? Many other like-minded questions were answered during these sessions.
Also on board AYFE 2015 was Nescafe, who gave a presentation about a coffee kiosk startup opportunity that'll give successful applicants a kick-start to run their own Nescafe-branded coffee kiosk. Nescafe also set up a cute booth in the hall that sold coffee for only RM1 and below!
"It was great to hear first hand experiences from the industry players," said delegate, Mr. Yazeed. "I am in retail and want to go into the food business. AYFE 2015 was the perfect platform for me to dip a toe into the waters of food entrepreneurship."
Delegate Kak P, who runs The Pisang Cheese in Kelana Jaya, agreed. "This conference gave me valuable insight and insider tips on how I can go forward with my own operation. I'll definitely come again if it's held next year. Who knows? I might have a food truck of my own by then."
AYFE 2015 ended with a special invite Beanbag Roundtable featuring top KL food truckers, the international speakers as well as Coach Hasril. The purpose of the round-table, chaired by Coach Hasril and Mohd Adly Rizal, CEO of FriedChillies, was to discuss and debate about the direction the food truck industry was headed to in the future. Needless to say, some key aspects of the industry was tabled out and discussed during the session, and a promising future seems to be in store for the food truck industry.
Najee of Thyme Out, Mohd Adly Rizal of FriedChillies, Nizar from Cowboys Food Truck, Adel Ishak of LFD and Ren Yi from myBurgerLab
Overall, the entire conference was a success. It was incredible to be amongst people who had brilliant ideas and knowledge, all sharing the same floor to discuss, articulate and in general talk about what it takes to be a food entrepreneur in food obsessed Malaysia. We were very happy to see so many questions answered and so many ideas tabled out.
"It was great," said Shasha, a delegate who runs a home-cooked meal service. "I'm definitely looking forward to more of this next year."
Well, we here at FriedChillies cannot be prouder, and to that we say THANK YOU to everyone who made the 1st ASEAN Young Food Entrepreneurs Conference a major success. From here, the possibilities seem endless. YOU GUYS ROCK!