Enter The Three Tigers

By June Ramli

Back in the day, Nantha Balan dreamt of starting his own business with his friends but all those ideas for their start-ups remained idle as their lives got busy.

Then something changed and they suddenly sprung into action to bring their idea to life.

“We would meet up, talk about it (the idea) and then forget about it the following day.

“Also, the fact that we were getting old and that we had entered into the peak of our careers, we realised we no longer wanted to work for others till we were in our 50s,” he told dailystraits.com in an interview from his home in Petaling Jaya.

However, Nantha blames the delay on the fact that the trio needed to warm up towards dabbling into entrepreneurship.

“Going into entrepreneurship took some getting use to because we have worked for others for so long and still continuing,” he explained.

He said that all three decided to put their fears aside last year to start Three Tigers after careful planning, which is a food delivery service with a twist.

“The idea behind the brand name was simple.

“All three of us were born in the year of the Tiger, in 1974,” he said.

If you think that name was cute, wait till you hear their tagline, “Tiger Lickin’ Good.”

Nantha and his former schoolmates Oscar Lee, and Australian national Naresh Alagan wanted to initially start the business in Sydney but somehow that didn’t go as planned.

From left: Oscar Lee, Naresh Alagan and Nantha Balan. Photo: Supplied.

“One of our partners is Malaysian-born but is now an Australian citizen and he wanted us to start the business there because he knows Sydney well.

“To do that, we would have to leave our jobs here in Malaysia, uproot and move to Sydney,” he said.

Realising that such a move was too risky, the trio decided to pivot the idea and start the venture in Kuala Lumpur instead.

With no background in running a food business, they still decided to bite the bullet and just start.

“My background is graphic design, Oscar is in logistics while Naresh has a background in accounting and law,” he said.

First, they started the business by incorporating a company, followed by searching for restaurants to partner with.

A few thousand Ringgit later, their little venture has taken off and has had some success.

“We started (the business) late last year but we don’t have a website yet. It is currently under construction by an overseas web developer and I expect it to be up and running by the end of this month,” he said.

Explaining the business idea further, Nantha said his business was a food delivery business that had a unique twist to it as it had leveraged on other people’s kitchens while using their branding.

“The end goal is to have our kitchen but to start things off we decided to leverage other people’s one’s first.

“Restaurants would cook the food for us but they would deliver it using our packaging and our outsourced riders.”

He said the company now has three restaurants that have decided to give them a go.

“They are mostly people we know, we are still finding it hard to explain to other restaurants the benefits of using our marketplace,” he said.

“That is the most challenging part. Some people we spoke to don’t understand this concept and still want to sell the food at their price.

“By partnering with us, they will be able to maximise their kitchen output, generate additional revenue on top of what they are offering and also help them to reduce the food wastage in their restaurants as well.”

Explaining further, he said interested parties would have to agree to a food tasting done by one of the trios at their premise followed up by a pricing agreement on the cost of each dish.

“We will pick their five best dishes to sample.

“We won’t buy them at the same price as the customers do and we would have to ink a deal with them, leave our packaging there for them to pack the food in when orders come in from our platform,” he said.

At the moment, he said the company was trading using social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp which is why delivery is only available in the Klang Valley area including Klang.

But despite the challenges and with no website, he said his company was pushing about 50 orders per month.

“Sometimes, my other business partner Oscar and I would do the deliveries ourselves,” he said, explaining that his Aussie partner lives in Penang.

As with the delivery company, the outsourcing did not come cheap, standing at RM1 per km with a minimum of 5km per delivery.

He also said that the company had its own set of problems too.

“Sometimes the riders won’t deliver the food on time and I would then have to rate them badly for them to never deliver with us again,” he said.

To contact this reporter, email editor@dailystraits.com

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