The mission at JIA Group is to be a leading hospitality group, creating properties with a pulse; to strategically plan growth while maintaining core values; to reinforce brand personalities and values to the public as well as internally so that the JIA Group ethos is infused into each member of their team. JIA Group also seeks to provide customers with an ‘experience’ which is personal, interactive and authentic, yet which also provokes and entertains.
Each JIA Group restaurant has its own brand personality and style but it is always uniquely JIA Group. It is JIA Group’s particular approach and attitude, which defines who they are and helps them to deliver their own brand of product and service. Five milestones that JIA Group has achieved which are proud moments for the group’s Chief Executive Officer, Yenn Wong, include developing the first boutique hotel in Hong Kong and being able to compete against larger, multinational hospitality brands for bookings and occupancy. Wong is also one of the youngest leaders in the hotel business, and was named Restaurateur Of The Year by several publications. Under her leadership Duddell’s restaurant received its second Michelin star, leading to the restaurant’s first international expansion via Duddell’s London which will open in late 2017.
One of the most difficult challenges Wong faces is people management on various levels. “It’s challenging but rewarding to deal with all types of people, all the time – whether it’s a member of my team or a guest. Across the JIA Group portfolio, we serve approximately 3,000 – 5,000 people on a daily basis,” says the young entrepreneur. Wong tries to problem solve in present time as best she can, and works with different characters to understand their viewpoints or concerns. “In some situations one needs to place feelings aside, but at other times, one needs to have great empathy,” she observes.
Wong obviously has mastered the art of empathy as JIA has a high retention rate across the board, which she feels speaks to the environment that they have created. “From a human resources perspective, we look for people with initiative and talent. They are then empowered to do their own thing. Because we have empowered them, they show pride in their work and the venues or projects they’re assigned to,” says the graduate of the University of Western Australian who majored in Marketing and International Economics.
Wong’s father has always been an inspiration to her, as he was a self-made entrepreneur who taught her the value of hard work. “My father nurtured me to become an entrepreneur. While a tertiary education gives you a great foundation and education, at JIA Group it’s about being hands on. It’s about the daily encounters which you then apply what you have learnt previously in one situation to the next,” says Wong. “You learn by doing, and when you make a mistake, you reflect upon what you did to ensure you don’t make the same mistake again,” she states when asked her philosophy of business.