National Day Rally 2019: Staff development pays off for Jumbo

Mr Ng Zi Yang, who started out as an apprentice at Jumbo 12 years ago, is now an executive chef with the chain.
Mr Ng Zi Yang, who started out as an apprentice at Jumbo 12 years ago, is now an executive chef with the chain.PHOTO: JUMBO GROUP

An emphasis on staff development has helped Jumbo Group, a restaurant chain known for its chilli crabs, to retain Singaporean workers like executive chef Ng Zi Yang.

Mr Ng, 32, has been working with Jumbo for 12 years and was promoted to his current role this year. While he started out as an apprentice, he received training over the past six years or so in areas such as communications with staff. Now, he oversees a cluster of six seafood brands in Singapore.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said of Mr Ng's retention yesterday: "This is a signal achievement in the food and beverage industry, which usually has a high turnover." It is also an example of how economic transformation efforts are starting to bear fruit, with firms expanding abroad and developing their employees.

Jumbo, for example, found success by focusing on training both its management team and staff, said PM Lee.

It now has over 20 restaurants in Singapore, China and Japan, and group chief executive Ang Kiam Meng foresees further expansion ahead. He is among representatives from 25 companies taking part in Scale-Up SG, which helps high-growth firms scale up rapidly.

"The group plans to focus on the Asia region but we don't rule out Australia, Northern America and Europe," said Mr Ang. "We hope that we can take our brands to the world."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 19, 2019, with the headline 'Staff development pays off for Jumbo'. Print Edition | Subscribe