3 decades ago in Malaysia entrepreneurs
were understandably hesitant of venturing
into the western food restaurant business. They were still trying
to wean themselves
from the influences of their pre-independence colonial masters
and to rediscover
their local Asian values.
Nevertheless, there were these young restauranteurs who believed
that good food always
crosses cultures and prejudices, and appeals to discerning consumers.
Mr. Foo Hee Hoon,
Mr. Foo Hee Loon and other partners almost single-handedly took on
the formidable challenge
to start The Ship restaurant (The Ship), opening at Jalan Sultan
Ismail what was later to become one of the many more outlets
all over Malaysia. Although it wasn't exactly smooth sailing
all the way, there was never a doubt that its captain at the
helm was steadily steering it towards sure success.
Foo Hee Hoon and his equally talented wife together with their
hand-picked chefs were on hand daily to serve up a wide variety
of the tastiest western food from the choicest and freshest
ingredients, which had patrons returning for more. This eventually
gained The Ship the reputation of serving The Best Steak In
Town, which essentially was the great food, well served under
a unique decorative setting and on top of that all prices
are value for money. The unique exterior of its restaurant
resemble an almost life-size hull of a ship, and on stepping
inside one will be impressed with the finely recreated likeness
of a sea-going vessel.
Complementing the theme is service provided
by captains and crews in maritime uniform. Such is the
attraction of The Ship that it is common for foreign
visitors of the country to seek its whereabouts. The
Ship has, by word of mouth, contributed in making Malaysia
a popular tourist destination. This, too, is just another
indication of The Ship sailing on to greater heights.
If imitation is a form of
flattery, The Ship must be doing something right,
because many others have since followed suit with western
restaurants sprouting up everywhere. In the face of
growing competition, The Ship not only confidently hold
on to its own premier position but has since expanded
further with 5 more outlets at strategic locations,
and more are being planned. More importantly, each of
these outlets has proven a tremendous success story
in its own right.
Not one to rest on its laurels, the
founder of The Ship's understanding of local consumers'
preference has kept him ahead of competitors. The booming
economy in the late 1980s contributed to Malaysia consumers
expecting more than a good meal alone, so The Ship introduced
live musical entertainment to its selected outlets,
bringing in the concept of wine, dine and be entertained.
response was nothing short of fantastic, and
musical entertainment has since become a favourite,
regular part of The Ship.
The Ship foresees bright prospects in strengthening and expanding
its thriving business, and plans are being carefully made by
Mr. Foo and his capable managers to diversify into ventures
synergistic with the core business. With the continued loyal
support of its many customers, suppliers, management, staffs
and friends, The Ship will not only be assured of its own success
but will also contribute meaningfully to the success of The
Nation's Vision 2020.