AlumniA Gourmet Consultant’s Guide to Entrepreneurship

Luqman Hakim Othman is transforming Brunei’s culinary scene one restaurant at a time.

Luqman has come a long way since the days of feeling lost as he struggled in his mechanical engineering course. It was an impromptu discussion with a lecturer, who noticed his interest in food, coupled with his outgoing personality that eventually led to him to pursuing further studies in hospitality.

Today, Luqman, an alumnus of Swiss Hotel Management School (SHMS) and Hotel Institute Montreux (HIM) is running his own food consultancy business in Brunei called Gourmet Consultant. He helps restaurant owners identify business opportunities with the ultimate goal of optimum profitability. Recently he also opened a flagship restaurant called URBN Kitchen by Gourmet Consultant.

A successful entrepreneur usually starts with strong on the ground experience. What was your early career path?
In 2010 I moved to Shanghai and was the Assistant Restaurant Manager then Restaurant Manager at Purple Onion, a semi fine-dining restaurant by celebrity chef David Laris. I returned to Shanghai in 2013 as Restaurant Manager for naked Stables, where I worked with Stefan Stiller who was the then Vice President of F&B at the resort. Stefan is well-known in the industry for having won a Michelin star within 14 months of opening his restaurant in Germany.

What lessons did you learn, working with Michelin-starred chefs?
I’ve learned tremendously from both chefs who always reminded me that to excel in the F&B world, you need to have passion and creativity.


“You cannot succeed in F&B without a team which is why we set the motto, One Team, One Plate, One Customer when we opened Gourmet Consultant. If the team works well together, everything will be harmonious in the kitchen like a well rehearsed symphony orchestra.”


Do you think studying hospitality in Switzerland has given you an edge in your career?
It definitely has! When you tell people you studied in Switzerland, they usually assume it’s in hospitality. In terms of getting a job, it does gives both an edge and credibility but I think what has been truly beneficial is the work experience you gain on internships. Real-world work experience is essential for breaking into the F&B scene.

How has what you learned at SHMS and HIM helped you with your consultancy business?
I don’t even know where to begin! I actually still have my books from school and every now and then I go through them.

What’s the F&B scene in Brunei like?
The F&B scene in Brunei is growing steadily and it’s heading in the direction similar to what you see happening in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia now. Currently, more franchise outlets are opening up and I think this will help improve the standards of service in the country. There is also a good amount of independent cafés opening, which will enhance the F&B scene here in Brunei and this has also provided my consultancy with more business opportunities.


What are your 3 tips to budding F&B entrepreneurs?

  1. 1. Patience - You need a lot of it!
  2. 2. Creativity – People are always looking for something new, something that is unique and out of the ordinary.
  3. 3. Staff - Take good care of your staff. If your staff is happy, your customer will be happy. Happy = Productivity = Happy Customers = Happy Owner!

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