100 Next-Era CEOs in Asia 2012 -The region's best brightest, most promising-

RBX

CEO Lester Pimentel Ong

1974
Birthplace
Philippines
Message to young people
Start from a small step and don’t try to do something too big at the beginning. Founding a company means you will be the boss. You have the right to decide everything and have free time endlessly. Try to challenge the infinite possibilities.

I grew up in a Chinatown in the Philippines where everyone around me had their own business. Therefore, I thought I would start my own business in the future. I had been practicing martial arts since I was small, so I was blessed with opportunities to travel around other Asian countries to take part in competitions. When I traveled to Taiwan and Japan, I encountered restaurants that I had never seen in my country. I felt something at that time, but that feeling didn’t immediately lead to starting my own business.

I worked at the stock market after graduating from university. There, I learned what it was like to work for a big company and how a company is run. Through 1996, my stock market job was going well, but in 1997, when the currency crisis hit Asia, my salary declined drastically. I was married and had to support a child at that time. Then I remembered the restaurants I had seen when I had traveled overseas.

I opened a small stall in a department store, but it didn’t catch on at all because it was based on the restaurant I had seen abroad, which was completely new to Filipinos. Since there was no restaurant model that I could refer to in my country, I had to decide everything by myself, take actions and learn lessons from failures. I looked for a kind of food that Filipinos would like so that my shop would fit their taste and be successful. Finally, I found it: rice. Filipinos love to eat rice, eating it three times a day. That’s how I decided to serve fried rice at my shop. Taking Japanese teppanyaki as a cue, I grilled fried rice with meat and seafood on a griddle in front of customers, which was gradually accepted by Filipinos. As they eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner, our sales are always stable.

I have no ambition to make my company a big, worldwide franchise, but I always want to keep offering world-class, high-quality meals. At the moment, I plan to double the number of outlets by launching shops in Cebu and Mindanao islands within the next three years.

Company Profile

Name
RBX
Headquarters
Philippines
2000
employees
 
business
Franchising of fried rice shops
url
http://www.rbx.com.ph