Women In The Spotlight: Zenna Ho, Director of 8Treasures Group
Name: Zenna Ho
Company Name: Eight Treasures Group
Background: Business Marketing
Story: Helping out in family restaurant at the tender age of 17
Inspiration: Family Business
Tell us about what you do today and how you got to this position.
I run the operations at Eight Treasures Vegetarian Restaurant and Well-dressed Salad Bar & Cafe. Eight Treasures started as a family business, and I’ve been doing this for the past 10 years. For close to two years now, I’ve been working towards a full vegetarian diet, inspired by the amazing people I’ve met at my restaurant and events. Through our conversations, I was exposed to the plight of animal cruelty and exploitation, and learnt how it can even negatively affect climate change.
The experience compelled me to do something—to be the change i wish to see in the world. I started making the conscious effort to minimise my own carbon footprint, and embarked on a compassionate plant-based diet. I’m blessed to have a like-minded team that together takes the business to a higher level, which allows us to contribute to the community on a greater scale. Our mission, is to provide fresh, healthy and tasty food to all, sending a message that ‘Meatless doesn’t mean tasteless’. Our hope, is for more people to be open to the cause.
What was your biggest business challenge and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was keeping the business sustainable. With rising costs of food, operations, manpower etc, overhead costs are high and the challenge is to not just stay afloat, but also be sustainable in the long run. Being open to new ideas definitely helped. Over the past years, we formed new collaborations, like one with Foodpanda for delivery, organised and catered for special events, and spent more time getting to know our customers through Facebook and Instagram. Being able to surprise our customers with new items on our menu is next. This means constantly having to brainstorm with the chefs, challenging ourselves to come up with new and exciting dishes.
Have you faced challenges as a woman in your industry?
In all honesty, I do encounter subtle notes of discrimination that occurs every now and then. This usually comes from those who don’t think that women are good at managing a business—let alone a Chinese restaurant, where the kitchen is still a predominately-male environment.
Some customers also seem to be overly-concerned about my personal life and want to know how many kids I want to have. (Haha)
Tell us about balancing life and work?
This … is still a work in progress (haha), because my work is my life and my life is my work. Having said that I know that I have to make adjustments to have a better and more balanced life— how else will I last longer in this journey then?
What’s your best advice for women starting out on their career path?
Find what you truly believe in and keep it in a safe place. Trust me— you’ll need to refer to it when the odds are against you. Be the change you wish to see in the world, and be the best version of that change.