Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Fortune Court, Cabana closing due to vey poor business, hotel manager tak boleh

< Cabana club
< Fortune Court chinese restaurant

Poor management skills

Fortune Court, the 4th floor chinese restaurant in Summit Hotel Subang USJ that serves good decor with good food is struggling with the drop in business barely 20 months after opening.

This restaurant even enjoyed a good review in the 6th May 2006 issue of The Star. You can read it here: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/5/6/central/14136893&sec=central

According to hotel insiders, the restaurant had been doing fine since its opening, until the middle of this year when their business began to falter. Now they can't even cover operating cost.

Cabana club, which opened only in October last year, is doing so badly but I am simply not surprised. There is word that Group MD Kenneth Teoh now wants to lease it out to his friends to operate as a girlie bar (yes, he will probably grease some state authority officials to tutp mata about the operation). There is also word that they are thinking of turning it into a Thai cafe.

On both outlets, it may be a coincidence, but there was a change of hotel management just before the middle of this year. I don't think it's a coincidence, from what I hear.

I heard that there were very ugly scenes of quarrels and political backstabbing in the offices. A new resident manager recruited by Kenneth Teoh was part of this scenario. Many key staff which include department heads in the F&B, sales, marketing, purchasing and front office resigned under very tensed and unhappy circumstances. Some of them said they were victimised and even harassed by the new hotel resident manager. Restaurant chef Ah Ken left shortly after the new resident manager took over from the general manager, who himself resigned shortly after resident manager joined the hotel.

This new hotel resident manager, I shall call him RS, is quite a hot-tempered and political guy.

When the former hotel general manager resigned, RS was quick to try to show off his colours. It is said that he made life so difficult for the former employees that they had no choice but to resign. RS then recruited newer people at lower salaries to replace those who left. He ordered cuts in purchasing costs, which resulted in a drop in the quality of ingredients used in restaurant food. The hotel also faced demands for cash payments from suppliers or else they would not deliver the orders. Beverage companies held back their beers and liquor because of unpaid bills.
RS tried very hard to please his employer Kenneth Teoh.

Hotel occupancy has dropped. Cabana, a nice place with friendly people and which has many regular customers from around Subang Jaya, was failing even before it could establish itself. The chinese restaurant was failing also. These must reflect poorly on the new hotel manager's ability to run the hotel outlets. He could not perform better for the hotel, but to be fair, it would be alright if he could just maintain it, he would have done a good job. Obviously he does not know how to market hotel outlets. This is a great pity, because I remember seeing a lot of marketing leaflets and promotional banners for the restaurant and the Cabana. My friends are among the regulars at these places. As a sales & marketeer myself, I know that it takes consistent effort and focus over a period of time to build up a strong customer base. They should not kill the outlets because these outlets do have good decor, good food and music, and they offer a distinct and attractive choice for the market. The fact that they are killing these outlets so soon is a sign that they don't know their business. They just don't know how to market their products.

My company has some bills with the hotel which they have not settled for almost a year. Their accounts department keeps saying "no cheque".

I am told that some suppliers for the chinese restaurant, Fortune Court, are still waiting to be paid. The contractors who did the renovation for Cabana, the sound system contractor, and the air-conditioning supplier are still waiting for their payments. The DJ has also not been paid. Drink suppliers are also very angry with the hotel for failing to pay their bills. At one point, Cabana staff even had to use cash to buy drinks and cigarettes from the shopping complex next door to sell to customers because their own stock at the bar ran out and suppliers refused to replenish. Even a former employee who left Cabana did not get his full salary.

Summit Hotel resident manager

The hotel resident manager RS is today still the hotel's resident manager, not yet a general manager. I don't think he will get his promotion. Group MD Kenneth Teoh is paying RS a resident manager's salary to perform as general manager. Either Kenneth Teoh thinks RS is not competent enough as GM, or he is simply abusing RS without RS realising it, or RS is simply too stupid to know that Kenneth Teoh is making a fool out of him.

Either way, the hotel is losing a lot of business. In my opinion, Kenneth Teoh is not competent enough to manage a Group business, much less a hotel. (I found out that he has an engineering degree from a UK uni, but then anybody with money can get a degree from kampung uni in UK even if he is not so bright). I don't think the hotel manager is can cut it either.

Shortly after he became the manager of the hotel, RS was alleged by some ladies (who used to work for Meda Inc) of some conduct not appropriate for his position. It happened in the hotel lounge Bar One. Group MD Kenneth Teoh knew about it, but he chose to cover it up.

I am wondering whether I should tell the whole story as related by the ladies, among whom is a lawyer.

Maybe I will....but if he settles our bills tomorrow I might tutup mulut.

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