Jumbo Seafood (Chinese: 珍寶海鮮樓) is a restaurant-chain in Singapore specialising in seafood. First opened in 1987 with an outlet at the East Coast Seafood Centre, it opened an additional five outlets in the city and in the suburban areas of Serangoon Gardens and the Singapore Indoor Stadium, with its newest outlet opened in Dempsey Hill. The restaurant chain works with the Singapore Tourism Board to actively promote local favourites such as Chilli Crab, Sotong You Tiao, Crispy Baby Squid and Sambal Kangkong.
Since then, it has relocated many of its outlets and now the new branches are at East Coast Seafood Centre, NSRCC, The Riverwalk, Riverside Point, Dempsey Hill, Shanghai. Jumbo has ventured into many aspects of the food market, diversifying its brand. They now own the Singapore franchise of famous Japanese ramen bar, Yoshimaru in Holland Village. Other establishments include J-Pot in Vivo City, Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh in Rangoon Road, J Cafe in NSRCC and Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine. Another brand (Singapore Seafood Republic) in collaboration with other seafood restaurants in Singapore is located at Resorts World Sentosa.
Recently, JUMBO also expanded its operations to China.
The restaurant chain actively promotes dishes like the chilli crab, sotong you tiao, crispy baby squid and sambal kangkong as Singaporean dishes, and works with the Singapore Tourism Board to promote the chilli crab as a significant local dish.
- 1 History
- 2 Company Profile
- 3 Other Establishments
- 4 Partnerships and Philanthropy
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
JUMBO Group of Restaurants originated from JUMBO Seafood, which was started by a group of friends "for the love of eating and seafood". Mr Ang Kiam Meng who was an engineer by training, took over the business in 1993 and is the current Chief Executive of JUMBO Group of Restaurants. In the early days of JUMBO’s operations, the company faced some challenges including the closure of its second East Coast outlet in 1995. The company also filed a proceeding against a floating restaurant named “Hong Kong JUMBO Seafood Restaurant” in Hong Kong due to the similarities to the JUMBO Seafood brand which created confusion among the general public. The case was won by JUMBO when they established that they had “built up goodwill on the name” since 1985.
In 2006, as part of JUMBO Group’s overseas expansion plans, its operations and processes were streamlined. A centralised kitchen was also set up in 2008 to ensure the consistency of the food quality across the various outlets and to facilitate the creation of new dishes. A food technology consultant was brought in to ensure that the Group’s famed dish, Chilli Crab, could be replicated in the Group’s overseas branch “without losing its flavour and texture” before the Group expanded overseas. Its first overseas restaurant opened in Shanghai, in November 2013. The centralised kitchen prepares the sauces and mixes to be delivered to the various outlets across Singapore. Located in Kaki Bukit and spanning 8,000 sq ft, the kitchen enabled the Group to cut down on work processes. The labour-saving initiative meant the company could expand with less new hires – including launching new establishments like Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine, JPOT Hotpot Singapore Style, and YOSHIMARU ramen bar. Through R&D at the centrailised kitchen, the Group also started selling their Chilli Crab and “Black Pepper Crab Paste retail packs to consumers.
Revamping the JUMBO logo
In 2006, JUMBO revenue was $30 million, with their East Coast outlet being the most successful. The JUMBO Group of Restaurants now manages 22 outlets and has seven diverse dining concepts under its umbrella.
Marketing strategies of the Group include regular updates to the menu and a rewards programme for returning customers. Its famous dishes include JUMBO Chilli Crab and JUMBO Black Pepper Crab. The Group prides itself on being market-driven, preferring to spend “time and effort to study opportunities rather than go on a “gut feel’”. Mr Ang and his team of chefs and managers travelled around Guangzhou and Hong Kong, “eating three meals of hotpot every day for a week” as part of market research when the JPOT hotpot restaurant concept was under development. The company prioritises training and retaining staff, and nearly 100 staff members have been with them for over 10 years. During the SARS outbreak, when business was poor, staff were offered the option of taking pay cuts instead of being "retrenched".
Staff are given more autonomy in their job scopes, and this “consultative leadership” style has resulted in a surplus of Singaporean staff under the quota system. The JUMBO Group is also accredited by the Singapore Workforce Development Authority and the Institute of Technical Education to conduct and develop training courses. It runs over 40 courses which are open to all staff and external parties, with courses ranging from language and service courses to JUMBO’s own LEAD programme for training middle management. Service staff at JUMBO who show leadership potential are shortlisted for a fast-track programme where they are trained for 18 months as supervisors.
Recent Project: SingTel Hawker Heroes Challenge
On 7 July 2013, the SingTel Hawker Heroes Challenge saw favourite local hawkers and celebrity chef, Gordan Ramsay, in a cook-off. The contest, which was held at Newton Food Centre, saw more than 1,000 members of the public who came to sample Chicken Rice, Laksa and Chili Crab prepared by Chef Ramsay and the hawkers. Three hawkers were chosen out of a group of 12 popular hawkers to take on Chef Ramsay through an online poll that sparked national interest. JUMBO participated as one of the hawkers. Members of the public voted for either the Singapore hawkers' or Ramsay's version of the local dishes. Of the three hawker dishes contested by Gordon Ramsay, JUMBO was the only one that lost to Gordon Ramsay, with its signature chili crab dish.  Around 3,000 votes were received from the 1,000 people who turned up at the event.
In addition to its chain of JUMBO Seafood restaurants, the Group has diversified into other brands.
JUMBO Seafood in IAPM Mall, Shanghai
JUMBO Group partnered with BreadTalk Group to open a 280-seat seafood restaurant in Shanghai. The restaurant is also among the first of the Group’s to use the new JUMBO logo. The restaurant is located in Huahai Zhong Lu, a shopping district popular with tourists.
JPOT Hotpot Singapore Style
In 2009, the hotpot restaurant concept, JPOT, was introduced as part of the JUMBO Group, capitalising on the dining concept popularity in Singapore, particularly among “youths who gather in large groups”. The Group also pioneered the use of technology to increase productivity at their Tampines One outlet which has been replicated across other JPOT outlets.
The brand dates back to the 1950s when it was first started by Mr Ng Mui Song who operated a pushcart stall in the River Valley area catering to labourers. In 1977, Ng Mui Song’s son, Ng Ah Sio, moved to a stall in New World Amusement Park and worked out a new recipe, enhancing the pepper taste. The brand was eventually taken over by the JUMBO Group in 2010. After realising that many of its customers travelled long distances to its outlet at Rangoon Road, the Group opened an Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh outlet at Tanjong Katong, showing its commitment to customer convenience and accessibility. The Katong outlet also opted to reflect the area’s Peranakan heritage with custom tile designs in a restored shophouse. Today it has 4 outlets.
Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine
YOSHIMARU ramen bar
Observing that “the Japanese food culture is popular in Singapore”, the JUMBO Group brought in YOSHIMARU ramen bar serving Hakata-style ramen with Tonkotsu (pork bone) broth.
Singapore Seafood Republic
In April 2008, JUMBO embarked on a US$3 million venture with Japanese partner Maruha Restaurant Systems and opened the first Singapore Seafood Republic restaurant in Shinagawa, Tokyo. The 250-seat restaurant serves Singapore-style dishes, including the restaurant’s signature crabs. The brand currently has four outlets that feature many dishes highlighting Singapore’s food heritage and in less than a month after its opening, it served over one tonne of mud crabs.
Partnerships and Philanthropy
JUMBO has partnered with the Singapore Institute of Technology and the University of Nevada (Las Vegas) to offer scholarships for students majoring in Hospitality Management.
The JUMBO Group also supports various education and community welfare initiatives:
|2014||As part of the Hwa Chong Junior College (HCJC) Alumni - JUMBO Seafood Charity Golf Event 2014, JUMBO donated S$10,000 to the HCJC Alumni Student’s Bursary Fund|
|2012||Started a dessert-driven initiative called Sweet Charity in support of NUH Kid’s Heart Fund|
|2011||As part of Mercy Relief’s Earthquake & Tsunami Relief Fund, the JUMBO Group helped to raise a total of S$45,063.65 through fund-raising activities|
|2009||Helped to raise $12,400 for Manjusri Charity Hole. JUMBO pledged to contribute 10 times the amount donated at a designated JUMBO restaurant.|
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