Portrait of Singaporean corporation with 3,000 employees going up from a barbecue car peddling sidewalk

How can someone from a roast pork vendor, Mr. Teo Swee Ee, build a powerful empire in Asia? We would like to introduce the series of Made...


How can someone from a roast pork vendor, Mr. Teo Swee Ee, build a powerful empire in Asia?

We would like to introduce the series of Made in Asia articles about world-famous and long-established Asian businesses.

- Established in 1933, Bee Cheng Hiang has hundreds of stores with more than 3,000 employees.

- This brand only uses marinated pork. However, the recipe for success is still secret when the meat is still fresh after a few days without any preservatives.



For many Asians, pork is almost indispensable in the holidays. For Chinese people, roast pork is almost compulsory in the Lunar New Year. Among the brands of roast pork, Bee Cheng Hiang is considered the most famous with history since 1933.



Interestingly, the founder Bee Cheng Hiang, Mr. Teo Swee Ee is just a street vendor. Everyday, Mr. Teo pushed his street cart along the streets in Singapore with hot charcoal and spiced roasted pork.



Starting off, this man specializes in parking in front of crowded entertainment venues like cinemas and theaters. The aroma of barbecue made him sell quite expensive, especially on holidays.

Later, a good business helped Mr. Teo have enough money to open a shop in Rochor-Singapore in 1945 and then a second branch in Victoria Street.



Ironically, the branch on Victoria Street approached the truck park, affecting business. However, Mr. Teo is quite quick to pay the car owner to paint brand advertising on cars. This move not only made the store on Victoria Street crowded but also made Bee Cheng Hiang known by many Singaporeans.

Interestingly, the advertising segment at that time was small, so when I saw Mr. Teo's brand logo flooded on trucks all the way. Most Singaporeans have thought that Bee Cheng Hiang is a large group of barbecue traders, not knowing that these are only two small shops.

To this day, Bee Cheng Hiang has 376 stores in 12 countries around the world, from China, Malaysia, Indonesia to Korea.


The secret to success

To mention the success of Bee Cheng Hiang, it is impossible not to mention the secret of meat. Normally, Chinese people make roasts that will dry, marinate and cut pork fibers according to different tastes according to the price that the product they intend to sell. Until now, this technique was also used by Bee Cheng Hiang for both chicken and beef.


Normally, Chinese people at that time often used soybeans as an additive for barbecue but Bee Cheng Hiang only had meat with no sauce. Even each store branch of Bee Cheng Hiang cooks its own meat according to their own taste for the purpose of advertising itself. While most products are sold online and distributed from the Senoko-Singapore factory.

What's more interesting is that while globalized businesses aim to automate and industrialize Bee Cheng Hiang is still determined to make handicrafts, which means grilling meat on bamboo grills.


In addition, Singapore had to import food so Bee Cheng Hiang also had to get meat from many places. Therefore, in order to ensure the proper quality of meat input, Bee Cheng Hiang must use manpower instead of machines for monitoring and implementation in almost every process.

Because of this, Bee Cheng Hiang is always proud of their products do not use colorings, flavorings, industrial additives or any other preservatives. This is a rare thing because the barbecue of Bee Cheng Hiang still retains its freshness at hot and humid temperatures after 1-2 days. The recipe makes that special thing only passed on to the Teo family and some extremely close people.


The cooks who participated in Bee Cheng Hiang before being told the secret to barbecue of the Teo family were asked to work with the heart. They were taught to imagine themselves grilling meat for family members to eat and focus on product quality.

It was this principle that helped Bee Cheng Hiang survive through a series of competitors imitating.

"We are not worried about those who capture because we are constantly growing," said CEO Daniel Wong, the grandson of the founder of Teo, who is currently dealing with Bee Cheng Hiang.

Every year, Bee Cheng Hiang costs a large amount of research and development (R&D) for its team of culinary experts. Each year, Bee Cheng Hiang's R&D team produces hundreds of new products but only 10% of them are accepted for business. Even years, Bee Cheng Hiang offered up to 20 new product lines, a respectable number for a company specializing in food trading.

In the early 2000s, Bee Cheng Hiang was quick to sell vacuum packages of snacks and snacks, aimed at generations of students or office workers. In 2017, Bee Cheng Hiang continues to launch a series of skewers wrapped in small bags, convenient for users.

In addition, the company also launched many new product lines combined with barbecue, to diversify products. This is the reason every time you enter the branch of Bee Cheng Hiang will also be dazzled by many different types of meat and products.

With more than 3,000 employees, Bee Cheng Hiang implements a friendly staff management policy when considering people like relatives. All company directors have been in office for 15 years, an amazing number for businesses with 30 years of history.

"We do not allocate budgets to each of you every year or set goals for growth. We aim to open only 1-2 stores in each market every year. Quality is still number 1 priority. The development of technology makes customers today demand very high for products, so unless the business grows evenly with both quality and profit, if we don't, we will face a media brand crisis ". CEO Wong admitted.

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High Tech Brain: Portrait of Singaporean corporation with 3,000 employees going up from a barbecue car peddling sidewalk
Portrait of Singaporean corporation with 3,000 employees going up from a barbecue car peddling sidewalk
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