Malaysia to spearhead Tony Roma’s regional aspirations

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tony romaUnder the leadership of Revenue Valley Sdn Bhd chief executive officer George Ang (right) and chief operating officer Dickson Low (left), Tony Roma’s franchise in Malaysia is one of its most successful in the Asia Pacific region. Romacorp president Ken Myers has recently announced that Malaysia will be the regional training centre for the Asia Pacific region.

United States chain restaurant Tony Roma’s has made Malaysia its Regional Training Centre for the Asia Pacific region – one of its fastest growing markets in the world.

Following the success of the Tony Roma’s franchise in Malaysia, Tony Roma’s global franchise owner Romacorp Inc appointed Tony Roma’s Malaysia franchise owner Revenue Valley Sdn Bhd to undertake the training of its new franchisees in the region.

In conjunction with the official opening of Tony Roma’s Malaysia’s Nu Sentral outlet – its 7th restaurant in the country – Romacorp president Ken Myres and Revenue Valley CEO George Ang announced their recent decision to make Malaysia a training centre for its Asia business.

All new franchisors that are interested in opening Tony Roma’s restaurants in the region will be trained by a Tony Roma’s Malaysia team in its Sunway Pyramid outlet as well as a training facility set up in Revenue Valley’s headquarters in Wisma Academy, Petaling Jaya.

“What I have seen in Malaysia, from the quality of the people and this group (at Tony Roma’s Malaysia), is outstanding,” Myers says in an interview with Business Circle.

“I think this will become a very strong centre for Tony Roma’s in the region,” he says.

To date, Tony Roma’s has between 25 and 30 restaurants in the Asia Pacific region and Malaysia is one of the most successful markets.

With one or two new restaurant openings every year, the chain’s sales revenue in Malaysia grew to RM32 million in 2013 from RM1.5 million in 2006 when Revenue Valley started the first restaurant in October 2006.

This year, the Malaysian master franchisee has opened two new outlets within one month of each other: one in Citta Mall, Petaling Jaya and the latest one in Nu Sentral, Kuala Lumpur on May 28.

The company is also planning to open two more outlets this year in Putrajaya and the Johor Baru city center.

“The interesting part is that many members of the team in Malaysia are from parts of the world where we have openings,” Myers says.

One of the reasons Malaysia was chosen is its multinational team, which consists of members from all around Asia like Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines and Indonesia, Ang says.

“As we already have good people working in our restaurants from these countries, they are going to be our practical trainers,” Ang adds.

Like all Tony Roma’s franchisees in the past, new franchisees in the Asia Pacific region will undergo a similar training programme that is regularly held only in training outlets across the US.

The programme typically takes up to two months to complete and will be conducted in English.

After the programme is completed, trainers would also be available on-site in new restaurants for about a week before they open to prepare restaurant staff for the outlet’s opening day.

The RTC was a strategic move as Tony Roma’s is expanding aggressively in the Asia Pacific region.

According to Myers, the company has just signed an agreement for the opening of 24 new Tony Roma’s restaurants in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India, and Nepal over the next eight to 10 years.

As all travel and training costs are borne by new franchisees, a training centre located centrally in Asia will allow new franchisees to obtain the necessary training at a lower cost from trainers who are familiar with the operating environment in Asia.

“For instance, most of the raw materials are prepared for you,” Ang says.

“Eggs are boiled and sent to restaurants in the US but not in Asia,” he explains.

The Malaysian Tony Roma’s business will also benefit as its role as the chain restaurant’s regional training centre is expected to make it a more attractive place to work for the best food and beverage professionals in the region.

“Many of those who come from different parts of Asia would love to go back to their home country to train new people, and that is a benefit George and his team could offer their staff here,” Myers says.

For more information, visit Tony Roma’s Malaysia website.

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