The Chicken Rice Lessons

You’ll gain more than a chicken rice recipe, trust me

Everyone is a teacher.

Even the chicken rice seller at the coffee shop.

Teaching and learning has always been activities associated with schools, institutions, libraries or any place that involves a highly educated person passing on knowledge to others.

Everyone is born into this world with two professions: a teacher and student. We learn from and teach people we interact with in our daily lives regardless we choose to or not. Some people stay in our lives for years, some for merely a brief second. But as long as we made an impact in their lives, we’re teaching and learning every waking moment, and vice versa.

It was just another day for me, but little did I know that buying a simple packet of chicken rice will teach me valuable business lessons.

This humble chicken rice shop (Phun Heong Hainanese Chicken Rice) has been operating in Bandar Puchong Jaya for the past 20 years and it’s one of my regular favourites since high school (whoops, accidental age reveal?).

While most F&B outlets hopped on board the food delivery bandwagon, the chicken rice uncle has not relied on Grab or Foodpanda, instead,the business thrives on his loyal customers.

And guess what?

His BUSINESS is doing well!

That is when it hit me.

1. Businesses need customer loyalty

Image: Chris Liverani/Unsplash

How likely are your customers to do repeat business with you? Customer loyalty is related to customer satisfaction as happy customers tend to favour the brand that meets their needs. Build connections and good experiences for your customers to ensure that they come back to you in the future.

2. NOTHING can compensate for quality

Image: Phun Heong Hainanese Chicken Rice/Food Advisor

This is interrelated with customer loyalty and satisfaction. Many businesses have gone down the road of producing subpar quality products but inflate prices to satisfy their own greed. The chicken rice uncle made sure that his food quality is maintained. He does not overcharge his customers, the food is always worth what you’re paying for.

3. Humility goes a long way

Image: Francesco Ciccolella

Arrogance and business don’t mix. Arrogance is a deadly threat to a business as it drives customers away. The uncle’s likeable and friendly nature draws him customers towards him. He treats his customers nicely and with respect and that’s what makes him very endearing.


It is easy to seek knowledge from books and learned men. But surely, the best lessons in life are learned when you least expect them?


Sincerely yours,

Xavier Mah

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