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Secret Recipe Essay

Top 10 Malaysia brands in Malaysia from the top are McD, Starbuck, KFC, Oldtown, Burger King, Sushi King, Secret Recipe, MarryBrown, A&W, and Kenny Rogers. Secret Recipe is class in the seventh of the Top Ten (Top 10 of Malaysia, 2014). It my most favorite cake store ever. That’s the reason it been chosen. Secret Recipe is a popular lifestyle cafe chain in Malaysia, with Halal certification awarded by Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM). It first outlet was founded in SS2, Petaling Jaya in 1997 by Datuk Steven Sim with his four nephews (who are all bakers). Secret Recipe is a concept casual lifestyle café, featuring a mouth-watering menu with 40 different varieties of cake and more than 30 locals and international dishes (Foo. K, 2012). Secret Recipe have crossed ASEAN and now landed in Asia (China, India).

And you will get shocked and I tell you Secret Recipe also available in Australia. Bravo! Today, Secret Recipe brand has successfully extended to 10 countries with more than 360 outlets, with over 4000 employees serving customers through in prime urban locations and shopping malls. Beside Malaysia, other countries that have Secret Recipe café standing up with other local F&B outlets are Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, and India (Secret Recipe, 2014). Do you know how Secret Recipe withholding their customer? Here some hints. Secret Recipe caters to everybody. Secret Recipe has a professional R&D team to improve their distinctive products. Inspired by delicacies from all over the world and improvising using their unique techniques, Secret Recipe has created many distinctive and excellent cuisines. Secret Recipe promises a value lifestyle proposition of great variety and quality food at affordable prices.

The uncompromising quality of food and desserts using quality ingredients, coupled with moderate pricing, has created a new lifestyle cult, compromising of a loyal base of food and cake lovers. Secret Recipe always seeking to create new food items every month, the company’s innovative business model has transformed it into a very profitable and popular brand at home and abroad (Secret Recipe, 2014). While sitting down in the Secret Recipe customer seat, customer always feel warm, home, happy (even alone), hassle free, tension less, etc.. Secret Recipe Cakes & Café environment offers customer friendly and personalized full-service dining experience via modern contemporary and vibrant interior concept with comfort ambience, and great food.

It provides a great respite for customers to enjoy good food and quality time with friends, family or associates, after a long day at work (Secret Recipe, 2014). 50 awards and accolades including Best Cheesecake (1998) are prizes that Secret Recipe been awarded and recognized. Some other awards that lately crowned are “The Largest Café Chain” by Malaysia Book of Records in 2003 and more recently clinched“Silver Award for Retail-Fast Food” and “Putra Most Enterprising Brand of the Year” by The People’s Choice Putra Brand Awards 2013.

Every single awards stood as a limestone of a succeed business in their industry. Secret Recipe is under the industry of “Chain Linked, F&B, major in Bakery – Cakes” (Secret Recipe, 2014). So far, Secret Recipe has not met any competitor in its specialty, and I call it monopolized its industry. Even KFC have it rival, McD, but not Secret Recipe. Moreover, the company objective is “to maintain the best and highest satisfaction towards its valued customers” (Secret Recipe, 2014) Since the company brand have leap from Malaysia-> ASEAN->Asia & Australia, the company have no alternative but to maintain its quality, reputation, crowd, standard. Not a single flaw that the company can easily accepted and delivered, when mistake happened.

Else consumer will no longer support the house due to negative feedback from global, country that the company covering. And country that yet to have Secret Recipe will not welcome the brand when something happened, ex: – food ingredient consisted of poisonous material. Proper management team should ensure standard of below must be above satisfactory level, satisfaction, productivity, quality control, growth. Succeed of the company bring good remuneration to the company, with good response the company can consider 2nd franchise and so on.

The owner is eyeing to go Global, and will not satisfying with continents of Asia and Australia only. At Secret Recipe, the company believes that their accomplishment is driven by philosophy of practicing quality and high standards, as it’s the most important brand value of the company. Besides delivering quality and home alike atmosphere to consumer, the Co also accept feedback in order to deliver more to their customer. Thus, the company commitment in quality is what distinguishes them apart from their competitors. The company vision is to extend the branch until 250 cafes at the end 2015 (Foo. K, 2012).

1.1 Business Problem

Human issue is a fatal problem of all time, staff behaviors and service issues became the Co business problem. Poor service level, unfriendliness, not attentive and unable to speak fluent English. Secret Recipe a brand crossing 2 contingents, Asia & Australia famous café, which their outlet is open in capital, uptown, commercial, financial, tourism area, most customer are mid-high income and high education group of consumer. Customer falls to this category is mostly English speaker; Secret Recipe staff that unable to well communicate with this group of consumer may create a negative impact to the Co global image.

Late delivery and not attentive of the Co also made customer feeling annoy on the employee at work. And will somehow question whether the Co employee was on training after employment. During peak time, most customer only have 1 hour time for dining, when short of manpower of menu is unable from the table, the time for food to be delivered will be delayed. During unpeak time, employee is not in the counter but might be somewhere at the corner either playing their smartphone or going elsewhere (chit chat may be) and left the counter unattended. Above issue should be keep an eye to avoid any incident happened.

1.2 External Analysis (PEST)

PEST framework, an effective marketing model is crucial to implement for analyzing the macro- environmental of the up growing company of Secret Recipe. It is include political, economic, social, technological factors. Fundamental of the factors that should be familiar and consider in order to bring the company to triumph without violating any local issue.

1. Political

Malaysia is a multi-racial country that consisted majority of more than 70% of Malay Muslim civilian. It is also a modern Islamic country. Muslim eatable food must be approved Halal by Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM, 2011). Halal certification tells Muslim that the food is produce, prepared and storage of the food is handled under monitored of Jakim Committee. Political factors to Secret Recipe café, never seriously impact much like alcohol industry. Cause the food that provide is monitored by Islamic committee. Understanding of the government activity towards the country deem significant. New update from the industry will bring positive and negative impact to the industry and market.

The earlier the Company knows the news / update, the better to get ready for the challenge. Ex, Government gives low interest loan to certain industry, and encourage business walk out of Malaysia via free tax of 5years. In 2003, 100% of the foreign equity holding is allowed for all investments in new projects and investments regarding the process of expansion or diversification of project by the existing company (Iskandar Malaysia, 2014). The said supportive effort of action of the government enables many players in the food-service industry to develop and grow.

2. Economic

Business trend revise at least 2times in a decade due to global or local factors/ influences. It covered all the industry but not certain. The change usually brings challenge to the business, to excel or to quit. To excel, business owner need to adapt the new environment, improved environment. As of improved environment, we will see demand of customer to certain product. We all know that demand makes market and it influence buying behavior. Malaysia is considered as one of the most affluent nations in Asia, it had reported a GDP per-capita of about US$6,807 in 2007. As a result, the country is already considered as an upper middle income country, and ranked by the World Bank as the 8th wealthiest nation in the East Asia.

In 2007, the economy of the country grew by 6.3%, 5% in 2008, and expected to rise to 3.4% to 4% this 2009 (US Government, 2009). In between year of 2001-2008, the country has much good news, Year 2003, the total unemployment rate was just 3.5% (International Labour Organization, 2003), or showing an almost full employment, when every individual have good income we can predict strong purchasing power that stimulate the market. On year 2005, we are entering the ‘Improve labor market condition’. Most people enjoy higher living standard, and eating away from home is a part of Malaysian lifestyle. Due to this we have enter to another cutting edge consumer foodservice market.

3. Social

Due to improvement of economy over the past year, living standard has been changed drastically. Dining out of the house has been a habit / trend to Malaysian, this eating out trend is over percentage of western country. Based on year 2007 research, Because of increment of eating out habit, many food service retail industries popped up. Malaysia as a multi-racial, lingual country, naturally have multi type of food. And the lucky Malaysian can taste variety type of food, thank to Malaysia.

English is an international common language, customer who is educated is the Company target market (of course, the Company also have dialect speaking customer). This category of customer should be more focus into; their demand should be view / review accordingly. Halal is the most concerned issue in Malaysia, with the symbol of Halal, market of 50.1% Malaysian population (Index mundi, 2010), which they are Muslim is now your customer. This group is the major focus group because it’s 65% of 29milion population, or 20million customers. I think no one want to miss out this group of customer.

4. Technological

Wi-Fi availability is now mandatory, speed is vital. Due to heavy use of smartphone and mobile internet, many file required high data transfer. Implementation of Wi-Fi, sometime draw customer in not the food but Wi-Fi. Believe or not, they are individual do business under the Wi-Fi environment. We also see customer come in and play game in the café. Lately utilization of mobile internet boom till I never believe, almost 90% aged below 30, is eyeing on their mobile for a reason.

1.3 Internal Analysis (SWOT)

1. Brand
Logo, corporate color, marketing strategies, uniforms, and menu layout are element of brand power. As a going globalized concept café, Interior design must be unique to be outstanding. More exposure and awareness activity can draw more attention from public. It ease new customer understand and accept the company product. Your customer will introduce new customer to the café.

2. Product

Secret recipe outlet is more focus on high catchment area, product quality must be proven fresh daily. The café will rather throw away unfresh quality of cake rather than spoil their own name on cake they are selling. A mistake on core business will bring uncountable disaster to the company.

3. Marketing

Advertising and marketing through internet, brochures, catalogues, flyers, newspapers and television advertisement are regular activity. Latest strategy is promotion on special like, mother day, valentine day, and thanksgiving. Groupon also is a very good channel for promotion.

4. Franchised System

They are enabled to access the date form the headquarters using Franchise. All the tailored operational systems, purchasing systems, storing, products, service s standards, marketing and many others have brought ease of operations for Secret Recipe and minimize the drawbacks.

5. Customers

Best way to have returned customer is to membership reward. Uncountable rebate will impress not only the customer but customer friend. The company appreciate loyal customer, even give higher privilege to new customer. The company believe customer introduce customer. The company will not try to lose any customer if possible, and they have ready feedback form to listen to our customer.

1. Price

As a going globalized concept outlet, we have to maintain our price on the high site, due to so many customer without complaint we will maintain the price, without going even higher when possible. Our target market is still eyeing on mid-high income range consumer.

2. Staff

They staff age group below 25 years old is >75%, employee come and go is regular. They understand to educate and growth an employee are not easy, they will try to do our best to get the right person. Most employee >25y.o is more consistence compare to previous group. And employed staff is mostly form outstation or east Malaysia. Most of them are graduated from secondary.

3. Language Barrier

The Company really have problem seeking employee that speak fluently English, cause this group of person demand very high salary. What they can do for current is to have more

2.1 Marketing Objective

Attract new customers and maintain loyal customers
Increase 10 percent market share in Malaysia within the next 12 months (From 1st Jan 2015 to 30th Dec 2015).
Refurnish outlet once in each year
Training the new staff and setting Employee Recognition Programme

2.2 Management Objective

Provide professional training for all staff to train them as a professional standard waiter. Constantly send people to every outlet and check for the quality of all facility. Carry on a regular basis customer satisfaction to investigate to the customer and developing action plan on improvement. Setting Employee Recognition Programme to recognize and reward work and behaviors.

2.3 Justification

As a going global recognize company, we must have very cleared the Co objective else we cannot even step out from the standing ground or we failed if implemented wrong strategy. A failure of the plan, will take company some years to recover. Not a mistake that the entrepreneur can effort. Talented and smart management team is responsible to handle the current company affair; marketing team play a important role to tell the public that Secret Recipe is the only café that satisfied your daily needs. All the company activity is to gather more customers or even increase familiarity to the public, make the café branding trusted and reliable. If possible try to have some social responsibility activity, such as charity running program, marathon, senior citizen and OKU price for the category.

2.4 Marketing Strategy

Secret Recipe is well known in Malaysia for its fine quality cakes, fusion food and distinctive service. They are serving a wide selection of more than 40 types of gourmet quality cake and other baked desserts. Other than that we also offer savory foods such as local delicacies and fusion food. They also offer seasonal cakes using seasonal ingredient in Malaysia such as Durian Cake, Durian Cheesecake and Hazel Cheesecake. Health Cake was introduced to the market as the market trend shift to healthier lifestyle. Sugar free and trans-free cake such as Sugar Free Moist Chocolate Cake and Hi-fiber Cream Cheese was put on shelf and gets good review from the customers. Secret Recipe do have the service of baking cake in shape of different character of Disney cartoon based on the preference of customer’s choice of flavor. In addition, they also offer vegan-friendly menus for vegetarians.


The company objective is “to maintain the best and highest satisfaction towards its valued customers”. It means the company wants provide high quality food and best services to their customers. At the same time, they are hoping to attract more new customers.


Secret Recipe price position is serving in upper-middle customers. The high-middle income customer willing to pay more for healthier, tasty food served in a clean, comfortable and pleasant environment. Secret Recipe has introduced limited-time value set to attract lower income customers to their restaurant for dining.


Besides marketing via web or media, promotion is an alternate channel to boost up sale, the Co need more consumer to spend. Groupon is an attractive website to do promotion. All user of the web can view how many people have spent on the promotion campaign. The more activity/ campaign that is ongoing, public will truly recognize the brand power and will also desire to participate on next upcoming event. Exposure to the public is significant, to increase brand power. If the co have ambassador it will be best.

2.5 Management Objective

Keep excellent food quality all the time and provide more new food variety to customer.


Hire more expertise to fix the uncertainty face by customer according to the feedback provided. Training is a very important aspect in terms of overall management. This is because of the fact that the knowledge, skills and ability of the staffs reflect the organizational image of an organization. Every employee of Secret Recipe is provided with training. Use Employee Recognition Programme to evaluate the employee performance and reward work.

Equipment and facility
Replace the old furniture to let customer dine in comfortably.

2.6 Target Market

The target market of secret recipe will be the individuals and young families. They also target the medium and upper class society because they have good financial backgrounds and afford to buy the food in secret recipe which is bit expensive if compare to the others outside food. Besides that, target market for secret recipe is also on cheese cake lovers because it is well known with its cheese cake.


Secret Recipe is target city residents of Malaysia
The ages range around 20 to 50 and live in the urban area. This group includes college students, young families, and middle to upper class income individuals or families.
The people who are enjoy a high quality meal and love tasting different kind of food. The people who are health concern in regard of foods and cheese cake lovers.

3.0 Marketing Communications Plan

Source: Retrieved from http://www.brandequity.com.my/web/
Secret Recipe has the strength in terms of cost as well as the marketing channels. It will utilize various methods of advertising and marketing
through internet, radio, magazine, newspapers and television advertisement.


According to Kotler, P & Keller, L.K (2006), advertising is an activity that initiated and paid by sponsors, through non-staff display and promotes their ideas, goods or services. Advertising as an economic and effective information transmission, it is able to build brand preference. Television advertising is generally considered to achieve the most extensive consumer and it is the most powerful advertising media. From the perspective of brand build, TV advertising has two particular advantages. One is an effective way to show the product attributes that can convincingly illustrate the benefits of the product to consumers. Another one is TV advertising is the way to depict brand characteristics. Print media can provide very detailed product information and user can effectively describe the image and usage.

The main advantage of radio is flexibility. The number of radio stations is very large and it is advertising relatively cheap. Furthermore, radio advertising can get fast response. In Malaysia, most individual and families have a car, especially in the middle and upper class group, and most people usually listen to the radio when they are driving. So, radio advertising can be easily attracted to this kind of audience. Internet advertising compared with traditional media is more powerful because of it spread fast and covers wide range. The audience of internet advertising is generally young people. They are most vibrant, highest level of education and purchasing power of strongest group. Internet adverting can help company to directly hit the most target market.

3.1 Action Plan

Renovation, beautifying and inspection of the café environment from time to time is significant. Monthly inspection of the café for the first 3months after café opening and quarterly inspection on all the tool, environment, electricity and water are mandatory. Position of in house designer department is important, it assist to monitor and improve atmosphere of the café. Technician and maintenance crew department do assist designer department to implement what they wanted. Event/ marketing department, play a main role in the co, planning of marketing activity for the branding per quarter is important.

Creating hype to the Co, draw attention to public, increasing awareness of the brand, benefit the society are responsibility of the marketer. More marketing event will draw more attention to the Co. A very good example, when a F1 team won the race or going to win the race, the brand of the automobile company will have more sale on coming year. Believe it or not, it’s the marketing, advertising, public relation colliding impacts .A globalized concept café should at least have some standard rapport to maintain. Of Course beside external such as above mentioned, internal standard such as food quality, employee friendliness, hygience, satisfaction of the café are utmost important. It’s the core business to the café.

3.2 Contingency Plan

There are total 2 elements under the term. Insurance and suppliers Fire insurance and employee insurance should not be forgotten. Fire insurance protect loses of the rented building to prevent extra lost, employee insurance tell your employee that the Co care of their service (of course only employee, who work after certain period of time) As we all know, market is a fun and tricky place, supplier will play around with fluctuation/season price. As we know the two hands strategic, we will have at least 5suppliers in the same time for the best price. We won’t be fool by ridiculous company. Last but not least, we also need a part time advisor to the company, where we can seek assistant whenever we found that out of our knowledge. Their advice make us stand firmer and longer.

4.0 References
Kotler, P & Keller, L.K (2006), Marketing Management, 12th edition, Prentice Hall

Foo. K (2012), Secret Recipe for success [Online], Available at http://www.thestar.com.my/Story/?file=%2F2012%2F10%2F27%2Fnorth%2F12234754&sec=north

Index mundi (2010), Malaysia Demographics Profile 2014 [Online], Available at http://www.indexmundi.com/malaysia/demographics_profile.html

International Labour Organization (2003), 2003 Labour Overview [Online], Available at http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—americas/—ro-lima/documents/publication/wcms_187481.pdf

Iskandar (2014) Why Malaysia? : Advantages of Malaysia [Online], Available at http://www.iskandarmalaysia.com.my/why-malaysia-advantages-of-malaysia

JAKIM (2011), Government Website [Online], Available at http://www.islam.gov.my/en

Secret Recipe (2014), Official Website [Online], Available at http://www.secretrecipe.com.my/

Top 10 of Malaysia (2014), Top 10’s Crème de la Crème Food Brands in Malaysia [Online], Available at http://top10malaysia.com/home/index.php/news-and-events/top-10-food-brands-in-malaysia

US Government (2009), Malaysia HRI Food Service Sector Food Service Malaysia 2009 [Online], Available at http://apps.fas.usda.gov/gainfiles/200901/146326991.pdf

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