A Work Week With Zac Chua, Founder & CEO of The Kettle Gourmet
A work week in the life of a dedicated foodie.
As a creature of habit, I have always believed in following a strict morning routine as it sets you up for success. My morning routine has been inspired by ‘The 5am Club’, written by one of my favourite authors, Robin Sharma. Every weekday morning, I start my day at six am with a 25-minute HIIT workout in my home gym, followed by a cold shower– not only does this wake me up but it's been proven to improve circulation and even strengthen the immune system. After meditating for 10 minutes, I grab a Kopi O Kosong and start my working day at nine am. Each morning we have our Team Huddle, where every member of The Kettle Gourmet team goes through what they have on that day or week and outline exactly what they are working on. Mondays’ meeting normally takes a while as we’re working out the week's plans; orders and I like to set the direction of the week and help delegate responsibility to make sure that all my employees are happy. Mondays are my busiest day of the week due to the weekend sales and we although typically move about an average of 1,200 bags of popcorn daily and on Mondays’ we exceed this by sending out around 3,000 bags all over Singapore. I spend the rest of my day going through emails – I normally get between 30-40 emails a day – and I catch up on what has come in over the weekend.
Every morning, as well as doing my HIIT workout, I like to spend an hour (if I can!) reading or working on the business, this normally includes plenty of strategizing and planning for The Kettle Gourmet. Tuesday mornings are reserved for time with my marketing team. The Kettle Gourmet is a digital-first business and so we spend a lot of time and resources ensuring that our digital marketing and e-commerce site are up to a high-standard, eye-catching and easy to use for consumers or partners. Every Tuesday, along with my marketing team, we go through the feedback and discuss in detail how to improve our marketing strategies.
Tuesday afternoon is my favourite time of the week as its popcorn tasting time! At The Kettle Gourmet, we have five very talented in-house Chefs who produce and develop delicious flavoured popcorn for us to sample on a regular basis. Throughout this meeting, we discuss potential new ideas, conduct taste testing and catch up on the feedback of our current selection of popcorn. The best part of running a popcorn business is that I get to enjoy all sorts of new and exciting flavours of popcorn!
On Wednesday morning, my PT comes over to my house to work on strength exercises with me and make sure I am progressing – I used to be a professional long-distance runner and so I enjoy keeping fit. After my morning coffee, I head to a succession of meetings with potential and existing clients as well as suppliers. I like scheduling these face-to-face or zoom meetings in the middle of the week, as normally the beginning of a week is full of internal meetings and discussions. These meetings tend to revolve around closing deals, forging partnerships, sourcing new suppliers in regions that we’re looking to expand to and catching up with clients. At The Kettle Gourmet, we partner with a range of large corporations including Google, Facebook and retailers such as Rocky Masters, Hotels and even Air Asia Delivery Service – we’re the first-ever vendor on the new site!
Thursdays are a really crucial day for me. I have a weekly meeting scheduled with my business and life mentors to ensure that I’m on the right track, and help me with anything I need personally, or in relation to The Kettle Gourmet. My business mentor, Low Boon Seong, Managing Director of Align Group, is an especially important person in my life and he provides me with constant guidance. I’m also part of business networking group Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO) which usually meets (virtually or in-person) on a Thursday. This group is made up of business owners and we meet occasionally to learn and share the challenges that we’ve faced and discuss how to overcome them. Entrepreneurship can be a very lonely journey and so I’m thankful for peer and mentor support, especially within these tricky times during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We’ve renamed Fridays ‘People Day’ at The Kettle Gourmet as it’s the day of the week that we like to spend as a team and I can enjoy dedicated one-on-one time with each of my employees. I like to gather employee feedback every Friday, either face-to-face or via zoom, to see how their week has been and if they have any ideas on how we can improve the business. This feedback loop is incredibly important to me and in fact, it’s the reason why The Kettle Gourmet has grown so quickly over the past three years as I enjoy investing time and listening to my employees. Alignment is important and the way to succeed as a brand, and as a team. After a morning of organising the weekend orders, Friday afternoons at The Kettle Gourmet HQ are playtime and we like to enjoy either a game of Mahjong or Dota 2 together.
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