Dr. Jeffrey Goh Sim Ik

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

2016

Entrepreneur Of The Year

Dr. Jeffrey Goh Sim Ik

Entrepreneur Of The Year

2016

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

About Jeffrey Goh

“For two consecutive years between 2014 and 2016, the brand was voted as the best brand in F&B under the Mid-Western Casual Dining Category by the Brand Laureate body. The group’s Philippines outlet in BGC has been voted the number one restaurant in Manila.”

Making the journey from a budding dentist to the founder and Chief Executive Officer of a very successful group of eateries is bound to be an enriching experience filled with emotional growth and self-development. The 44-year-old Jeffrey Goh Sim Ik, born in Malacca and now enjoying the fruits of his labour as a force to be reckoned with in F&B, is making his mark beyond the borders of Malaysia.
He founded the Morganfields brand in 2011, making it the pioneer establishment serving pork ribs in Malaysia, planting his presence in an industry known to be extremely competitive and fickle, where success can be achieved as fast as failure can happen. The bulk of the menu at Morganfields – whose tagline is “Home of Sticky Bones” – is described as Western, but the formula for the food offerings, plus other ingredients in the business, has led to multiple awards.

For two consecutive years between 2014 and 2016, the brand was voted as the best brand in F&B under the Mid-Western Casual Dining Category by the Brand Laureate body. The group’s Philippines outlet in BGC has been voted the number one restaurant in Manila.

To add more lustre to an already glowing list of recognitions, Goh and his team opened the first internationally licensed outlet in Singapore within 18 months from the time the brand was born.
The group also established three outlets in Shanghai, known as a very demanding environment for F&B, within a year. As evidence of the hard work of the team in Morganfields, within four years, the group is now present in four countries. With Goh at the helm, this is a true success story.

The entrepreneur graduated as a dental surgeon in 1996. His dental training instilled a crucial life skill in him: being analytical when solving problems. This helps enormously when you are managing different departments within an organisation. His knowledge in F&B was gleaned from his time as a franchisee earlier in his F&B journey, as well as learning from his peers and collecting daily experience on the ground. He also learnt valuable insight by listening to his team who are at the front of house, and just as importantly, by listening to his customers.
The entrepreneur graduated as a dental surgeon in 1996. His dental training instilled a crucial life skill in him: being analytical when solving problems. This helps enormously when you are managing different departments within an organisation. His knowledge in F&B was gleaned from his time as a franchisee earlier in his F&B journey, as well as learning from his peers and collecting daily experience on the ground. He also learnt valuable insight by listening to his team who are at the front of house, and just as importantly, by listening to his customers.

With his feet firmly planted on the ground and experience guiding him in the right direction, Goh also found inspiration and guidance in his admiration of Tony Fernandes, another Malaysian business magnate. “He [Tony] started a business model at a time where most business people thought it would be impossible to work and he built his business up and became a leader in the aviation industry,” says Goh. More importantly, adds Goh, Fernandes had done it by thinking out of the box, innovating with marketing strategies and business operations, inculcating team spirit and the all-important practice of listening to your team and to your customers.

Goh admires the Air Asia founder’s unflagging determination in the face of obstacles, and hopes to emulate those same traits of perseverance and persistence in his managing of Morganfields.

Doing well financially is a wonderful result of being successful in business, but Goh also believes that success means a leader must be able to create more leaders and inspire others to be leaders, especially within his group. He also wants the company to be the choice employer for would-be staff. Success also means responsibility, and a duty to give back to the community and to contribute to society, which aligns with his personal philosophy that success is also defined by having a good life filled with friends, family and quality personal time.
His leadership style is characterised by his willingness to listen properly to his team, whether they are at the front of house or in the back-end operations. He is receptive to new ideas from marketing to operations and he is not reluctant to learn from other successful business models. Being a good leader, he feels, also means a willingness to admit one’s mistakes and to take full responsibility for the team. “All the above, I think,” he shares, “inspires my team to go the extra mile especially when the going gets tough.” The fact that his employees feel as if they are part of one big family rather than just mere staff, and believe that they are all together on the shared journey is also a key contributor to the group’s collective success.

Given his decades of experience, Goh has meaningful advice and insight for anyone wishing to make that journey as an entrepreneur and for those who wish to make the climb to true leadership. A good entrepreneur must have “commitment, determination, leadership, an obsession with opportunity, a tolerance of risk, creativity, adaptability, self-reliance and the motivation to excel, as well as humility,” he says.

And the advice he imparts to a young person looking to start their own business, is to “start with a plan, start modestly but think big and always surround yourself with the right people.”

This is sound advice from the man who loves what he is doing now and hopes that in a decade he will still be leading the company in a more strategic fashion. In time to come he also hopes to occupy the role of mentor to his flourishing teams.

Presently the group is 500-employees strong, with many staff expressing their pride that a Malaysian brand could achieve a presence regionally in the short span of four years, to the point where their reach encompasses 24 outlets. Goh has taught his team the importance of thinking out of the box, to be resourceful and innovative especially when there are challenges.
Some of the challenges faced by Goh and his Morganfields team have been dealt with capably by innovative thinking, such as reducing their dependency on skilled workers and incorporating equipment in their place. They have also used their creativity to find ways to drive traffic to their outlets when they were unable to get the prime location they desired for an outlet.

Serving non-halal food in a country that is predominantly Muslim has brought its share of concerns but Goh and his team have found ways to work around these issues. The group aspires to be the place and the brand that people go to for pork ribs, and they aim to serve top quality food products paired with the highest standards and levels of service, “winning the customers over one guest at a time,” and hoping to acquire an international fan base.

Goh and his team incorporate little surprises in their eateries, such as uncommon ingredients; for example, the use of century eggs in their Smokin’ Duck Sandwich or tequila in the Spiked Chicken. Guests have shared how much they enjoy these little details, in addition to their bestsellers such as the sharing platters.

As a leader, Goh has all the necessary ingredients, and as evidenced by the concrete success the Morganfields group has achieved as a team and are enjoying, the recipe for success is a clear winner.

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