Eat, Pray, Stress: Restaurant Success Secrets (And Ways to Fail) [Chills 166 ft Pagi Sore, Jekyll & Hyde]

In this episode of Chills with TFC, we bring in industry experts to discuss the reality of running a food and beverage (F&B) business in Singapore. The guests are Ee Chien Chua, the owner of Jekyll and Hyde cocktail bar, and Park, the second-generation chef owner of Pagi Sore. Together, they share their experiences, challenges, and valuable advice for aspiring F&B entrepreneurs.


– Ee Chien Chua: APAC Director of GTN. Owner of Jekyll and Hyde cocktail bar, with experience in finance.
– Park: Second-generation chef owner of Pagi Sore, an established F&B business since 1989

The Itchy Bar and the Temptation to Start:

Many individuals with full-time corporate jobs often find themselves with a desire to venture into the F&B industry. Ee Chien humorously refers to it as the “bar itch,” where people with excess income are enticed by the idea of starting a restaurant or a bar. However, the guests unanimously advise against succumbing to this narrative.

The allure of owning a restaurant or bar can be compelling, but is it a wise decision?

The Pros and Cons of F&B:

Today, we explore the pros and cons of starting an F&B business. While there are reasons to consider this route, there are also several factors that make it a challenging endeavour.

Lessons from Experienced Entrepreneurs:

To gain valuable insights, we sit down with Ee Chien, the owner of Jekyll and Hyde, a popular cocktail bar in Singapore, and Park, the second-generation chef owner of Pagi Sore, a well-established restaurant. Both entrepreneurs share their experiences, successes, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

The Journey of Ee Chien:

Ee Chien took over Jekyll and Hyde about six years ago and recently made the difficult decision to close the business. While he also has a day job in finance, F&B has been his main source of expenses.

The Story of Park:

Park, the second-generation chef owner of Pagi Sore, reveals that his family’s business has been serving customers since 1989. He grew up around the business and took over during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. With a strong presence in the Central Business District (CBD) for over 30 years, Park shares his experiences and the challenges of expanding the business.

The Pros and Cons of F&B:

The conversation veers towards discussing the perceived pros and cons of running an F&B business. Park highlights that a genuine love for food is essential, as the industry demands long hours, constant interaction with people, and immense pressure. He cautions against underestimating the behind-the-scenes work and the various challenges that come with running an F&B establishment.

The Realities of F&B:

Running an F&B business requires dedication, passion, and a deep understanding of the industry. It involves operational intensity, long hours, and the ability to handle pressure. It also requires a genuine love for food and people.

Understanding the Challenges:

While many people may be drawn to the idea of owning an F&B business, it’s crucial to understand the challenges that come with it. From ensuring food quality and customer satisfaction to dealing with regulatory requirements and manpower issues, the F&B industry demands constant attention.

Ee Chien highlights the common misconception that the service aspect is the main focus, whereas it represents only a fraction of the overall operations.

The Hidden Realities:

Both guests stress the importance of understanding the unseen aspects of running an F&B business. They emphasize the constant worrying about food standards, health and safety regulations, staffing issues, and even unexpected incidents like water leakage. Park shares the analogy of a two-hour service that customers witness, unaware of the extensive preparation and behind-the-scenes efforts.

Advice for Aspiring F&B Entrepreneurs:

Before embarking on an F&B venture, it’s essential to consider all aspects of the business. While there are success stories, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons, have a genuine passion for the industry, and be prepared to invest time, effort, and resources into making it thrive. They caution against jumping into the industry without a genuine passion for food and people. Ee Chien suggests exploring alternative investment avenues, while Park emphasizes the need for a realistic understanding of the operational intensity and potential challenges involved.


Running an F&B business in Singapore is a challenging yet rewarding endeavour. It requires a deep understanding of the industry, a passion for food and people, and the ability to navigate the complexities of the business. By learning from experienced entrepreneurs and considering the realities of the industry, aspiring F&B owners can make informed decisions and increase their chances of success.

Remember, it’s essential to approach the F&B industry with caution and a thorough understanding of the challenges involved. But with the right mindset, dedication, and a genuine love for the craft, running a successful F&B business in Singapore is not an impossible feat.

You can check their full interview on Chills with TFC, Episode 166 on Spotify, YouTube, Google podcast, Apple podcast for  insights provide aspiring entrepreneurs with a candid glimpse into the challenges, hard work, and dedication required to succeed in this competitive industry. It is essential to approach the F&B business with a genuine passion and a clear understanding of the hidden realities that lie beyond the bustling dining experience.

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