Entrepreneur Huen Su San on Happiness and Never Planning For What's Next

By Lainey Loh

The brains behind Malaysia’s first cloud kitchen enabler, Huen Su San discusses changing the F&B landscape, business in the post-pandemic era and finding happiness

Tatler Asia
GenT List 2022 Cookhouse Su San
Cover  Photo: Imran Sulaiman

In this edition of our rapid-fire questions series with a 2022 Gen.T honouree, we sit down with Cookhouse founder Huen Su San and ask her how the cloud kitchen has changed the food industry in Malaysia, what it looks like for F&B businesses in the post-pandemic era, the most important lesson she's learned, and more.

How have cloud kitchen spaces like Cookhouse changed the F&B landscape?

Huen Su Shan (HS): Cloud kitchens and shared kitchen spaces like Cookhouse offer more opportunities, solutions and options for F&B businesses. These spaces give them more options in terms of selecting different business models to target their target markets. I believe cloud kitchens act as a bridge between traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants and digital-first restaurants such as those that rely on food delivery services or are pursuing innovative dining concepts.

Cookhouse, as Malaysia’s first cloud kitchen enabler focusing on shared resources and services, gives food businesses a headstart in digitalisation and hybrid dining spaces. We believe that both F&B consumers and business operators will benefit through greater convenience, efficiency and growth.

Read more: How Do You Get On The Gen.T List?

As we move into pandemic recovery, what are some key areas that F&B businesses should be looking into by way of adaptation?

HS: F&B businesses have to adapt to the changes in market demands and the supply of manpower. We are faced with a unique cocktail of rising demand, rising costs and a shortage of manpower at the same time. These are challenges faced by operators worldwide while addressing changes in customer demands and preferences when it comes to dining options coming out of the pandemic.

What's a lesson you’ve learnt, from personal experience or someone you know, that you apply to your everyday life?

HS: The pandemic taught me that if we keep moving forward, we will find ways to survive regardless of uncertainty or adversity.

Off the top of your head, what are the three things that drive you?

HS: I am driven by growth and expansion. I find satisfaction in building something from scratch and I find joy in seeing it thrive. To live is to continue to grow. I care a lot about continual improvement as well. In everything that I do, I wish to improve every day. I believe that improvement and progress bring happiness and fuel passion.

Besides that, I love discovering and experiencing new things. Our world is constantly changing around us. I enjoy exploring new concepts and experiences; be it businesses or mental models or new ways of doing things.

See also: The Gen.T List 2022 In Numbers: Asia

What’s next for you?

Funny enough, I have never planned for what’s next, so I honestly do not know. I always give my 100 percent in everything I do. I have been fortunate in the past to be presented with different opportunities. If the time is right and I am ready, I will not back down from the next opportunity.

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