The love of fried chicken dishes has sparked the idea of two good friends, Johann Razali and Shafiq Saiful Aznir to start a small project to introduce Southern-style fried chicken to the local market. This is compounded by the results of a study conducted that shows most fried chicken dishes sold in Malaysia are dominated by a chain of fast food outlets and Korean fried chicken restaurants. In March 2020, although Malaysia was then subject to the first Movement Control Order, this did not dampen their enthusiasm to set up FOWLBOYS – a food business that featured Southern-style fried chicken dishes using buttermilk-based recipes.
Initially, they considered this project as a hobby that may not generate any profit because they only started with a capital of RM1,000 from the R&D process until the launch day. “It took us 3 months to produce the buttermilk fried chicken recipe until we were completely satisfied. Johann’s expertise in the field of cuisine helped us a lot to produce this special recipe. Our limited capital is one of the factors why we chose to start a business by selling sandwiches instead of fried chicken at an early stage. At the time, we were both operating from a small kitchen in our apartment. With a narrow space, preparing a burger compared to fried chicken is cheaper and easier. We have also taken into account that the fried chicken burger set is a complete delicacy and is a more satisfying choice for our customers. Because we do not have any experience in the culinary field, we also learn a lot through many mistakes, especially in the early months of business, “said Shafiq who is responsible for overseeing and managing the branding and marketing for FOWLBOYS.
Start with the Chicken Sandwich, Motherclucker and Batter Up! (fried chicken & waffles they created), FOWLBOYS refined their Motherclucker recipe and subsequently launched two new sandwich recipes known as the O.G and Motherclucker 2.0 which to date are the most popular dishes on their menu.
Not only that, Johann and Shafiq continue to expand their menu by offering a variety of side dishes and snacks to be served with their sandwiches. Johann, the main creator of this menu, stated, “Apart from our unique buttermilk marinade, our Fowl Jam is also something that can not be found anywhere else. Fowl Jam came about by chance as we experimented with various ingredients. We created it by combining local chillies and imported chillies to produce jams that have a sweet and spicy taste. Our friends who tried this jam have recommended that we sell this jam. Then it continues to tickle to add it to FOWLBOYS sandwiches and it turns out that until now, it is very popular among many customers. ”
Armed with strong support from their families and friends and has become the talk of many food lovers, these two young friends are gaining momentum on social media and their sales revenue continues to increase in line with the number of their followers on Instagram. Shafiq recalled several responses on social media that compared their burgers to one of the popular burgers offered by the well-known international food business, “Such a response inspires and gives us the confidence to continue working harder to succeed in this intense business”.
March 2021 is the first anniversary of their business and these two partners are still working hard pursuing their dreams. They are constantly improving their products, for example, by changing the use of frozen burger bread to a freshly baked potato bun burger every day by one of the local bakeries. In terms of operations, they have moved from their apartment to a commercial kitchen in Mont Kiara and are currently in the process of planning to open their own restaurant in Subang Jaya, which is scheduled to start operating in the second quarter of this year. “In terms of delivery, at the beginning of our business, we use the Grab Express service. Because we do business from home, we are not eligible to participate in platforms such as GrabFood or FoodPanda.
Through this experience, we have learned to optimize our operations and preparation process from a small kitchen. This helps reduce operating costs and keeps business expenses low. We learned a lot through this process, every time we had to upgrade operations, we had to find solutions to meet more demands while maintaining the cost that lower and more effective. For now, FOWLBOYS is only available in the Klang Valley but in the long term planning, we hope to be able to expand operations to other states. I am also very happy to announce that we are now on the GrabFood and Beep platforms. Over time, we have achieved more and more success and hopefully, this will last forever, “said Shafiq with a smile.
FOWLBOYS is proof that the combination of hard work and ideas that emerged during the pandemic could yield lucrative results. As Johann explained, “The food business or F&B is very intense because many people started venturing into the food business as their source of income when this pandemic started. Unfortunately, this also means that the food market is currently saturated and competition is getting fiercer. Therefore, branding and marketing factors are very important to ensure success in this field. FOWLBOYS believes in and we adhere to this principle. With good products, further strengthened by sufficient marketing activities and efforts, you can start a business effectively. This is an industry that needs strong resilience. You have to be willing to give your whole soul and feelings into your business. Many ideas only remain as ideas and are not successfully implemented, but if your research and instincts are strong that your ideas can be turned into a business, I recommend to make your dreams a reality. “