With a food empire spanning over 30 F&B establishments in Singapore and neighbouring countries, we speak to restauranteur Eldwin Chua to learn his recipe for success.
In the unpredictable world of the F&B industry, Paradise Group CEO Eldwin Chua has done the unthinkable. In just a decade, he has grown his 3-man cooked food business into a regional restaurant empire with 8 culinary concepts including Taste Paradise, Seafood Paradise and Paradise Inn. We speak to Eldwin Chua to learn about his journey from zi char chef to award-winning restauranteur.
Being a restauranteur was never Eldwin Chua’s ambition. But when he was offered the chance to take over a coffeeshop stall at Defu Lane, the then 25-year-old saw it as a chance to start something for himself.
Like most businesses, the early days were hard. Eldwin still remembers how he would wake up in the wee hours of the morning, hop on his motorcycle and ride to the wet market to buy groceries. While he had an assistant chef and a helper, Eldwin still had to cook, serve and do the washing-up at the end of the day.
Despite the hard work, Eldwin saw potential in the business. His next step was to set up a second outlet and convert his current one into the full-fledged restaurant that is it today. The rest, as they say, is history.
Fast forward to today, Eldwin’s Paradise Group Holdings spans more than 30 establishments in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Thailand with more than a thousand staff on its payroll.
To run an enterprise of this magnitude, Eldwin counts himself fortunate that he had many mentors to guide him. With a proper corporate structure and professional managers to see to the company’s day-to-day operations, Paradise Group had set a solid foundation for its incredible growth.
In 2009, Eldwin made the biggest gamble in his career. He planned to open his flagship restaurant, Taste Paradise, at the newly opened ION Orchard right in the heart of Singapore’s shopping district. It was a make-or-break move as Eldwin plowed his entire life’s savings into this fine-dining restaurant concept.
Although several overseas and local big players had expressed interest in the restaurant space, Eldwin was very clear that this was the restaurant that will build the future of his business. He got his wish eventually and Taste Paradise opened to a roaring reception.
While Paradise Group is still relatively new, Eldwin has already set his sights on establishing a legacy for the brand. Taste Paradise proved that he wasn’t afraid to take on the industry big boys. But Eldwin isn’t stopping there. Ultimately, he wants consumers to think of his Paradise restaurants whenever they think about quality Chinese cuisine.
Since starting his business, Eldwin has learnt many lessons on what it means to be a leader. Responsibility to his staff is one key lesson. Because of this, he understands how important it is for leaders to have a vision to share, and the ability to inspire and motivate their staff. To Eldwin, this is what will enable him to build a sustainable business model.