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RunningMan: Bringing Creativity To The Catering Industry

By Ze MingNo Comments

RunningMan is a food delivery service founded by a group of college students who wanted to address the problem of students having to travel significant distances to get meals from nearby eateries.  After years of hard work, they were able to grow their delivery service and expand to the catering aspect. Now it has become one of the top catering services in the Klang Valley and is striving to be number one in Malaysia. A total of RM725,000 was invested to accelerate RunningMan's development by NEXEA's Angel Investors who are prominent investors that see huge potential in them.

Mr. Andrew Chee, the founder of the RunningMan platform, who is only 28 years old, is able to develop his company to an RM25,000,000 valuation and improve it in a short period of time. In 2021, RunningMan generated RM6,900,000 in revenue, and they plan to grow it aggressively. RunningMan is currently a profitable business.

We had the pleasure of chatting with Andrew to learn more about how RunningMan was formed, the values and ambitions of the company, as well as his personal experiences with overcoming obstacles.

What is RunningMan?

Andrew Chee (Right) and his co-founders (Left - Right) Wei Yong Tan, Hao Ting Lee, Khai Siang Cham

RunningMan is an on-demand e-commerce platform that allows consumers to connect with local stores and have the RunningMan delivery crew deliver the products requested right to their doorstep. The RunningMan platform allows users to purchase anything from food and groceries to cooking gas and pet supplies with no minimum order required.

RunningMan first began as a group of ambitious students from Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TARUC) in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur. RunningMan was formed with the purpose of alleviating the time-consuming process of students living in dorms looking for a meal because students must walk for at least 10 minutes to acquire food from a nearby restaurant.

As a result, Andrew sees this as an opportunity to create a food delivery service on campus while earning money to pay for university course fees. Even though they did not make a huge amount from this meal delivery business, they believe that it is a valuable service for assisting students with their problems. 

During our conversation, Andrew revealed why the name of his startup is similar to the Korean reality show. He explained that the name has meaning because it is the exact scenario when the business initially started. "When we first started the business, we were literally running to collect the orders to deliver them to our consumers, which is why we chose the name RunningMan."

RunningMan quickly gained popularity on campus due to its low pricing and excellent service, resulting in a considerable increase in orders from a few per day to hundreds per day. The company's success made Andrew choose to transform his service to a digital platform in 2015, a food delivery platform that offers low-cost services with no minimum orders.

As someone who began their entrepreneurial career at a young age, Andrew was facing a lot of challenges in the early stages of their business to get to where they are today. "We struggled to handle our business when we first started it because we were very young at the time, and we made a lot of mistakes along the way, but it is through these mistakes that we established our never give up spirit and our ambition to be better."

The Core Pillars of RunningMan

During the conversation with Andrew, we realized that RunningMan focuses on four core pillars to inspire their team's performance: innovation, responsibility, teamwork, and the desire to be better. The first pillar of Innovation refers to RunningMan's business strategy of always staying innovative in order to provide new and creative services to their clients, rather than focusing solely on the meal delivery necessity. To enhance their catering services, they offer unique festival packaging, local handicrafts, and tiny interactive games.

Second, responsibility plays a vital role among the four core pillars that refers to the RunningMan team's working attitude of always prioritizing client preferences and experiences after an order is received. When handling a catering order for a customer, the RunningMan team would aim to seek out the true purpose of the event and then infuse the underlying message of the event into the cuisine that they provide.

Following our conversation with Andrew, we realized that the most vital trait for the RunningMan team to continue evolving and reaching new levels of success is teamwork. According to Andrew, "Internal company culture should always be fun and fascinating as this will help them come up with new and fantastic ideas for our clients and improve productivity." 

Fourth, the RunningMan team maintains the belief of "desire to be better" in order to continue their good performance and compete with other competitors in the commercial battle. As the founder of a young startup company, Andrew believes that youth is a valuable asset that should not be overlooked. Diversity, creativity, and innovation are the weapons of the young team to compete against established companies.

"We don't do the same thing in the same way, but we do it differently"

Andrew Chee, Founder of RunningMan

RunningMan Places Emphasis On Corporate Catering Services

In 2015, RunningMen catering services began with small-scale client orders such as private events, birthday celebrations, and weddings. After a year, Andrew and his team decided to launch "RunningMen Catering," a new business division for catering services, as the service offering and supply chain grew and matured. In recent years, the RunningMan team has placed its focus on corporate catering services.

Vision and Mission of RunningMen Catering

RunningMen Catering provides a complete range of Muslim-friendly catering services. It also provides services such as event planning and logistics to achieve its vision of "To supply the best catering experience to events nationwide." At the same time, RunningMen Catering believes that cuisines bring people closer together and has made it their business mission to "Strengthen human bonding with good food, excellent services, and pleasant experiences."

"RunningMen Catering aims to be Asia's largest caterer," said Andrew.

RunningMen Catering has achieved significant milestones, especially in corporate catering services. Currently, RunningMen Catering is the best caterer in Klang Valley due to its user-friendly services and innovative meal features. RunningMen Catering has catered for over 100 major corporations, including Zalora, Maybank, Public Bank, etc.

Andrew stated that for the company's plan for the next five years, he wants RunningMan to become the number one corporate caterer in Malaysia. Aside from their delivery and catering services, they plan to create an event space where they will be able to incorporate interactive elements based on the theme of the event. When combined with the extensive and personalized food options, RunningMan intends to provide its customers with a one-of-a-kind and joyful experience that they will not be able to find anywhere else.

The Uniqueness of RunningMen Catering 

What makes RunnigMen Catering unique from the long-established catering companies is based on three factors: interactive experience, sense of ceremony, and close relationship management. 

In the perspective of Andrew, traditional caterers lack interesting elements by focusing solely on food delivery services rather than the client's experience. As a result, RunningMen Catering puts a focus on providing an interactive experience tailored to the occasion.

For instance, RunningMen Catering has collaborated with myBatik to create Raya UniQ Box Bento for the forthcoming Raya season. Raya UniQ Box has prepared full-course Malays cuisine paired with the unique paintable batik activity to provide their cherished consumers with meaningful and joyful Raya senses.

As a RunningMen Catering customer, you will be assigned with a dedicated account manager who will guide and assist you with the customized catering proposals, including food options, event themes, and unique services.

RunningMen Catering also offers a variety of meal package options to its customers such as catering, bento, foodie boxes, and work-from-home meals. Not only that, RunningMen Catering provides food box customization, such as adding the corporate logo or a motivating message to the food box.

Challenges of RunningMen Catering

Andrew stated that the most challenging part of the fast-paced digital world is the constant need to change and react to market needs. He consistently emphasizes to his staff the importance of being adaptable and flexible to fulfil the needs of the customer.

The next difficulty that RunningMen Catering faces is cash flow management. From the interview with Andrew, we know that cash flow management is the key to handling corporate clients such as Lazada, PWC, Shopee, Accenture, and others.

"We provide the best quality of the product within the limited budget," said Andrew. 

RunningMen Catering will present total budget reports and a survey to the corporate in order to let them know that their costs are well spent. Furthermore, RunningMen Catering will conduct customer satisfaction surveys to gather feedback for their clients in order to ensure that their staff are happy with their services.

As the company that provides the fastest delivery service, the quality of the meal is another challenge to RunningMen Catering. To ensure the quality of the meal, RunningMen Catering's quality control team will be in charge of inspecting and ensuring the food quality of its kitchen partners before sending it out to its customers.

Being Youthful is Not an Obstacle, It is an Asset!

As a young company leader, Andrew shared with us how he was able to lead a team of young employees while simultaneously working with employees who were older and more experienced than him. According to Andrew, they want to create a company with positive community culture. They promote growth, transparency, and accountability.

He encourages young employees to take on more responsibility and strive for management positions within a few years, as he does not want them to remain in the same position in the future. Andrew believes that this is a good way to raise awareness and instil a sense of commitment among his team. When engaging with senior staff, Andrew stated that statistical results are the best evidence for instilling confidence in senior employees and ensuring that the team has a good future prospect. 

When working as a team, there will always be miscommunication amongst employees. When asked how he was able to address this problem, Andrew answered that the solution is transparency. '' We will conduct monthly performance review sessions, and whenever miscommunications happen and mistakes are made, we will try to resolve the problems in a transparent manner by discussing them with the leader and the employee. We encourage our employees to learn from their errors collectively rather than individually.”

Looking back at where Andrew and his team began and how they have developed to become one of the top caterers in Klang Valley demonstrates the continuous improvement. It will be interesting to learn how Andrew is able to motivate his employees to always improve. “The key to keeping your team progressing is to promote learning and growth in the workplace. Every week, we will hold learning sessions in our office, whether it is a book club where we read and discuss a book or inviting a speaker to our office for a short seminar," said Andrew.

Another element of constant improvement is that Andrew searches for the right talent who can fit into the company culture. During the interview, Andrew stated that when hiring new employees for the company, they look for talents that have sufficient skill and match the company culture rather than top talents because the individual with the best talent may not match the company culture.

Andrew and the RunningMan team

Through the constant improvement of Andrew and his team, they were able to attain a lot of achievements throughout their journey. When asked what their greatest accomplishment had been thus far, Andrew stated that it was distributing 3000 lunches across Klang Valley. According to him, the client was hosting a virtual event and needed them to deliver 3000 meals to all guests in various locations in less than two hours.

Another one of their major accomplishments occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. Andrew noted that their competitors were struggling and had suffered a 50% decline in sales during the COVID 19-pandemic. On the other hand, RunningMan not only did not lose its sales during the COVID 19-pandemic, but they were able to triple its sales, resulting in a 200% increase.

Advice for Future Entrepreneurs 

Entrepreneurs are people who have a wealth of social experiences and life lessons. Andrew, as one of them, was kind enough to give some advice to those who wish to take the same path as him. He advised that it is important for those who wish to be an entrepreneur to have a clear vision in mind.  

“Without a clear vision in mind, you may become easily distracted and lose sight of your initial ideas as you embark on your entrepreneurial journey.” 

Andrew Chee, Founder Of RunningMan

He emphasizes that Entrepreneurship is not necessarily about making quick money, but rather about fixing a problem. Besides that, Andrews also states that it is important to find the right team with the right people in order to build a successful business. 

Andrew also offered guidance to young people who wish to start their own businesses, “Think big but start small” is the advice from Andrew. Young people should have a big picture in mind for their career path, but they should take it one step at a time. He suggested that young people should start by solving problems in their immediate surroundings before they are able to handle a big challenge. 

“Youthfulness is an asset to gain experience by facing failure.”

From the entire conversation with Andrew, it can be seen that even though he is younger and seem to be less experienced than the older entrepreneurs, this does not mean that he is at a disadvantage. Instead, he takes advantage of his youth by constantly improving himself and trying to do things differently.

One of the mentors in the Entrepreneurs Programme praised Andrew for his desire to learn and improve. "Throughout the Entrepreneurs Programme (EP), Andrew and his COO demonstrate their hunger to learn and desire to improve," said Alan Lim, co-founder and former CEO of MediaBanc Group.  Just as he is eager to improve, he is also willing to share his experiences. "He is an ardent supporter of the Entrepreneurs Programme, he does not miss any of the meetings and he contributes more than he shares. For that, he is highly respected by other members in his EP group."

Andrew is also praised for his leadership and entrepreneurship skills. According to Alan, “His leadership and entrepreneurial skills are almost inborn. He is so enthusiastic about it that it rubs off on everyone around him. These abilities have proven to be a blessing to RunningMan as what RunningMan is today has a lot to do with what Andrew has brought to the company."

When asked what he thinks about the future growth of RunningMan, Alan is confident that it will continue to grow.

"With Andrew's leadership and entrepreneurial skills and his eagerness to constantly find new ways to improve the company, I am certain that the company will continue to grow."

Alan Lim, Co-Founder and Former CEO of MediaBanc Group

It was a true pleasure to have this conversation with Andrew and learn about the values he uses to run his company, as well as some of the experiences and challenges he has faced as a young entrepreneur.

Based on what has been said so far, Andrew is an inspiring entrepreneur who is passionate about his company and is constantly striving to improve himself and his company.

Visit RunningMan's website here to learn more about how they can assist you in creating the best and most joyful dining experience for your events.

We hope that you learned a few things through this article and feel inspired to achieve your goals in life. We at the Entrepreneurs Programme wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

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