Eddy Wong is the co-founder and the head chef of Wild Hogs, a place where you can get all your ribs cravings satisfied. And just like every other restaurant in the F&B industry, Eddy and his partner went through some hardships during this ongoing pandemic. We conducted an interview with Eddy to find out more about his journey as a chef and Wild Hogs. Eddy is an outstanding chef and was also awarded with the title of “King of Kitchen” by HAPA Malaysia, 2018-2020.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Feel free to share your experience and your journey to success.
Eddy: My name is Eddy Wong. People usually call me Eddy for short. The experience I have for cooking actually starts when I was around 14 years old. I am actually a descendent of Peranakan heritage whereby currently my parents are running a small Warung in Perak serving specialized Nyonya Cuisine. There I have been exposed to cooking since young and started to cook when I was still a teenager. Upon graduating from KDU College in 2011, I was immediately sent to Germany for my internship. There, I had my major training in fine dining specializing in German and French Cuisine for one year in a 1 Michelin Star Restaurant, Bordeaux Stuple. I was then later recruited as a Chef de partie in a Western Cuisine Restaurant in Singapore and was promoted to Chef de cuisine position in less than a year. I was also being offered a place in Keppel Club, American Club In Singapore. Then in 2014, being a co-founder of Naughty Nuri’s (Malaysia). Finally, co-founded Wild Hogs in 2021.
Where did the concept and inspiration come from?
Eddy: The concept should be monochrome, urban rustic. Bikers, car lovers, ribs. Cold ice beer, a get-together place. Name is inspired when I was young dining in a small town in Queensland, Rockhampton to be precise. There I had my unforgettable ribs.
How has the pandemic affected you as a chef as well as your business?
Eddy: I believe that the pandemic has been affecting the food and beverage business in the whole world and is an unprecedented time. However, the food business overall has been adapting pretty quickly and for us especially.
What did you wish you would have done before the pandemic hit?
Eddy: I wish that I was able to invest in a pandemic-proof business or diversify our group's main source of income instead of relying entirely on food and beverage only.
What kind of experience do you guys wish to provide for your customers? How has this changed since the pandemic?
Eddy: We wish to provide our customers a laidback and chill environment, an urban rustic dining experience inspired from the movie like Peaky Blinders and the Wild Hogs movie and targeted customers are especially for bikers enthusiast or food enthusiast. However, this has been dampened by the pandemic which restricts to only takeaways or food deliveries which takes away exclusive dining experiences.
Ever since the beginning of 2020, how has the way you run your business changed? Have you noticed any changes in regards to your Customer’s behaviors?
Eddy: Since the beginning of 2020, the business has to be consolidated, strict SOP has to be enforced. Most of the customers are initially upset with the rules enforced especially in the number of limited seats available in the restaurant, 2 or 4-pax only restricted and this has created a lot of dispute among the customers and restaurateur nationwide.
What is your aspiration? What do you want Wild Hogs to be?
Eddy: Inspired by exclusive dining experiences that customers crave after being in lockdown for almost a year. With that in mind, the movie Peaky Blinders came to fruition whereby an urban rustic dining experience is intended to be provided to fellow customers aiming for a cold beer and some hot ribs, talking about life and a get-together. I would like Wild Hogs to be a joint where a targeted group of enthusiasts especially the bikers or food enthusiasts would come for a nice cold beer and some inspired delicious BBQ ribs done in the Texas backyard.
What is the one thing that you want to share with your customers?
Eddy: Here at Wild Hogs, we are a group of dedicated teams aiming to provide a safe, cozy, and convenient experience to our customers. Wild Hogs will continue to enhance certain features such as a dedicated mobile order app. special curbside pick-up areas, drive-in, and walk-up order areas, exterior dining spaces, and sustainable design elements will be featured throughout the new restaurant layout to ensure customers safety and comfort.
Do you have any advice or motivational words for your fellow business owners and customers alike?
Eddy: "Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else." adapted by Fred Rogers.
With this quote in mind, everything in this world happens for a reason, and if we are at the end of something, it signifies that a new beginning of something is about to happen. Changes are inevitable, especially in unprecedented times. We humans have to adapt fast and continuously stay alert to the latest trend and technology. Hence, for our brand especially, we find adopting certain measures would be able to increase our sales, for example, establishing an online selling presence and streamlining our e-commerce outlet and fulfillment operations.
Our partner restaurant Wild Hogs recently came onboard with us at Morr, we’re helping them retain their customers with our loyalty program and bring in more customers with our discovery feature! For more information, please visit our website at www.morr.my!