Eunice Leow always had a keen desire to create great tasting food for others to enjoy. And it was during her NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) internship on the iLEAD Programme (now known as NOC Singapore) that the Faculty of Science graduate was really inspired to start an F&B business of her own.
“I was given opportunities for exposure to the many facets of running a business, which laid the foundation for me to set up my first shop after graduation. The soft skills that I learned during my internship, such as developing good relationships with people and being tactful in dealings, also helped me to make business connections that were very valuable,” she recalled while looking back fondly on her NOC stint.
After opening the first Strictly Pancakes outlet at Prinsep Street, Eunice and her business partner worked ceaselessly during the first six months to make things work. With no prior experience in running a cafe, they spent at least 12 hours every day on the ground covering all aspects of the business - from customer service to kitchen operations and logistics. This allowed for the quick understanding of their customers’ needs and wants, which enabled them to adapt fast to challenges that popped up.
Within three years, Strictly Pancakes expanded to its second outlet at East Coast and is now a thriving business with around 20 full-time staff. Both outlets draw a regular following of customers who flock to the cafe for its signature pancake creations as well as other delicious offerings. Even with plans to go into overseas franchising, Eunice is not ready to rest on her laurels.
“There are no shortcuts to entrepreneurial success and fulfilment. The best way is to believe in your ideas, face problems head on and stay determined through good and bad times. This is the biggest lesson that I picked up while working with real entrepreneurs during my NOC internship, something which placed me in good stead during my formative business years,” said Eunice, as she aims to serve up more sweet success in her entrepreneurial journey.