Rafael Marcos Soedarjo
Food & Beverage Business Development Manager at Cloud Lounge & Dining
: Describe your typical day in a sentence.
Rafael: Very dynamic and involving an on-site construction meeting or conference call to pitch a franchise, or I could be in my office writing a feasibility study or scouting for prospective candidates to join my operational team.
: So how did you come to be Business Development Manager for Cloud Lounge & Dining and other outlets in MRA’s F&B division?
R: I was project manager for MRA's new F&B outlets, and only handled the construction side of a project. MRA then wanted to focus on growing its F&B division so they decided to expand my role. My responsibilities have evolved into also managing the pre-operational aspects of our new outlets and exploring the opportunities to expand in Indonesia.
: What’s the toughest part of your job?
R: People are the most valuable asset in the business, so the toughest part would be finding the right people who can complement each other as a team to achieve a common vision.
: And what makes you smile at work?
R: Receiving positive customer feedback on overall dining experiences for all of our F&B outlets and seeing the outlets you helped create become major contributors to the bottom line of MRA Group.
: What motivates you?
R: Working on a new project because there will be new challenges and problems that we may not have seen before. By trying to solve these challenges we will eventually learn new things. Having a concrete goal to meet is also a great motivator for me as I'm a resultoriented person.
: Would things fall apart if you weren’t around?
R: No, I always brief my team and give them a heads-up on what's coming ahead. I think it's very important in a workplace to have some sort of continuing career-development plan for each position as this will keep the employee's morale and motivation at a high level.
: Who, in your team, deserves more recognition and why? R: I believe everyone who is involved in a project deserves equal recognition. Each one of them plays a part in the success of an outlet no matter the size of their role.
: Why should people come to any of MRA’s F&B outlets to dine?
R: An exceptional dining experience resolves around four things: the atmosphere, the product, the customer service and the value for money. I like to think that our outlets provide all of these key elements, which makes them worthy, enjoyable venues.
: Away from work, what’s your favourite place to eat?
R: Bornga and The Grill for grilled meats, Mie Alip and Soto Eling-Eling for street food, Taste Paradise for dim sum, lastly Tontoki and Nasi Campur Kenanga to satisfy my penchant for pork.
: How do you unwind?
R: Listening to and discovering old-school songs and hidden gems on YouTube and SoundCloud. I also enjoy binge-watching TV series, one of my favourites is The Wire, but currently I'm hooked on Narcos and Silicon Valley.
: Finally, any advice for those looking to break into the industry?
R: Be passionate, be hands-on and be prepared to dive into the details. The F&B industry takes a lot of hard work to make it. Concentrate on your product and customer service, not just on atmosphere.