Gamer, game developer, entrepreneur, and now F&B innovator, Dr. Koh already had an impressive resume, before starting HabitatBlue or better known as Orca, at least in the industry.
Orca is an easy-to-use intelligent Business Operating System (BOS) catering specifically to the F&B industry. It seamlessly integrates all aspects of the F&B system such as the point of sales system, ordering and inventory keeping.
Dr Koh has traveled across the region to better under the industry, and with that knowledge and local insight, built the Orca BOS to suit everyone’s needs. His understanding of local issues has helped him build a successful company with a presence across the region.
When he isn’t in office, you’re likely to find him gaming or traveling the region to visit UNESCO sites. He has a philosophy inspiration can be gained from anyone who has something to teach him. Regardless of position, Dr. Koh believes anyone can have the knowledge to share that can change his perspective on things.
Find out his story below.
Sell us your company/service in 300 words?
59% of F&B businesses close within three years of opening, due to a variety of issues, from poor marketing to bad location. But most importantly, restaurants close because of the inconsistent customer experience. Hence, I saw a need to develop software to help restauranteurs manage their outlets and staff more efficiently.
Orca is an easy-to-use intelligent business operating system that was first developed in Singapore in 2013. The system’s humble beginning aims to provide a quick mechanism by which F&B can allow tableside food ordering to be sent straight to the kitchen, with a mechanism such as delayed firing and auto-firing of certain dishes as they are being done in the kitchen.
Orca helps keep track of the employee’s productivity without the hassle of paperwork or sudden spot-checks. Employees and machinery work in tandem to collect data and serve customers at the same time. Data from every transaction is recorded and stored digitally as employees make their sales. The inventory system is also custom built for F&B with mechanics such as wastage reporting, recipe tracking, package mapping between stock taking, recipe and ordering, as well as food yield during preparations.
In the whole cost structure of running a restaurant, about 30% of that is manpower. The use of Orca’s tablets (to self-order) would take away part of the front of house cost. The other 30% is rent, which cannot be helped. The other 30% is your food costs. For businesses that do not manage their inventory well, their food costs could go as high as 35%. For those that are doing well, it is 25% or lower. An additional 10% is a lot in an industry where margins are low.
Habitat Blue, the company behind Orca, has now expanded to eight countries — Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, the Philippines and Australia.
What is stopping you from having the largest company in the world?
The needs of a company change over time at different stages of the growth, hence it is hard for me to say what is stopping me from having the largest company in the future. At this current point, I am content with building a capable management team to ensure sustainability. Once that is successful, I will like to be able to serve the South East Asian community. Building the largest company in the world is not my ambition, I prefer to have a small company where everything is more tightly knitted.
If you could change one thing about the tech industry in Southeast Asia, what would it be?
Public awareness that it actually takes alot of effort to develop software and intellectual property, and that consumers and businesses are willing to appreciate the hard work and pay for the product.
Higher revenue means the ability to develop a better product, capable of competing on the international stage. An aggressive price war will starve the tech company and localize its market.
Name one person in the region, who is making a difference in Technology?
Anthony Tan, founder for Grab.
This is the second time Grab has been an inspiration to our entrepreneurs.
What would you want people to remember you for, 100 years from now?
Definitely the products and video games that I have created, but fame is not one of the reasons why I started my entrepreneurship journey.
About Dr. Koh
Dr. Koh has a passion for video game development, after completing his Ph.D. at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and he started Red Hare Studios to pursue his dream. During his journey, he got interested in time management systems for restaurants, while attempting to develop a PC game. After a year of learning about restaurant operations, a prototype version of Orca Business Operating System was developed and installed in a fast-casual restaurant. Over the past four years, Dr. Koh has traveled throughout South East Asia to understand the local business culture, and customizing Orca to fit the local F&B operating environment. He is now looking to combining these fresh insights to help more businesses optimize their operations and create a more consistent user experience.
Views expressed by the interviewee are not necessarily shared by Tech Collective. Some minimal editing is done for clarity’s sake.
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