By Wan Muhammad Aslah Wan Razali
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 (Bernama) -- Rumah Kacha by The Kapits located at Hin Bus Depot, in Jalan Gurdwara, George Town, Penang from the outside appears like a glass house but inside it is a tastefully and neatly laid out restaurant that fulfills the taste of the diners.
The unconventional name, the alluring interior and its location at a tourist hotspot famous for its art exhibits tells much of the owner too, a young determined entrepreneur who started off by catering for the campus community during his undergraduate days.
Mohamad Shafiq Kamaruddin, 28, first ventured into the food business during his first year at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang in 2011.
“I started my business on campus with RM250 as my capital at the time, that I took from my PTPTN (National Higher Education Fund) study loan. Me and my friend Syed Ikhmal (business partner at the time) started selling fried ice cream and hotdogs beneath the stairs of our hostel building,” he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama.
The Selangorian who graduated with a B.A Degree in Education said he literally went through the school of hard knocks and had failed three times to in getting the campus cafe going before finding the winning streak.
“My love for culinary comes from my mother and grandfather’s (Tok) kitchen, they had taught me everything about food and their motivation is what keeps me going in this industry.
He got the break he wanted in 2013 when he managed to convert an old computer lab at the USM's hostel quarters of Cahaya Gemilang into his first cafe and launched the The Kapits’ brand name.
Mohamad Shafiq is now the owner of two cafes at USM's campus and the Rumah Kacha by The Kapits restaurant that he opened outside the campus in March this year. He also operates a catering business and employs 34 people in total.
In winning over the customers, the young restaurateur worked on new recipes to fulfill the palate of the customers.
The cafes in the campus are well-known for their signature fried chicken wings, American style burgers, homemade desserts with convenient delivery services on campus while the restaurant offers authentic home-cooked meals and quality western dishes with a localized twist including the Masak Lemak Cili Api with Prawns Pasta dish.
The Kapits is an established brand for the USM campus community and a testament of how business-minded graduates have succeeded in the real world undertaking.
Meanwhile, in conjunction with the International Youth Day 2019 this Monday, Shafiq was asked what youths out there could learn from his success story as a succesful restaurateur.
He replied, “Be bold, as the world is fair to those who are willing to succeed, and failing is just part of the road to success.
“Never despair because it is the nature of the weak hearted, and no weak hearted are ever successful”, he replied with a grin.