Airline Pilot’s Viral Noodle Stall In Subang
“I feel like I’m now working 24/7,” Azrin said of running his food stand, Kapten Corner.
In the morning, he began his day by going to the market to restock himself with ingredients for the day’s service.
The family then prepares the ingredients together before heading from their home in Shah Alam to the USJ11 booth at 1 p.m.
When they arrive, they meet the hungry lunch crowd, ready to devour a hot bowl of noodle soup and fruit rojak.
“If we’re lucky we’ll be sold out early and we can have enough time to rest before starting over the next day,” he said.
On days when business continues until 10:30 p.m., the family cleans the store and doesn’t arrive home until 11:30 p.m.
“We’ll sleep like a log after that. I have also lost weight since our opening day on October 23, 2020, ”said Azrin.
Survive on savings
The aviation industry, which is suffering amid the pandemic, has left its staff stranded, laid off with no monthly income to support themselves or their families.
Azrin’s income had been hit hard since the onset of COVID-19.
I was no longer on a monthly salary basis. I was paid per job due to the low fill rate as all international borders were closed.
Azrin Zawawi, founder of Kapten Corner.
Sometimes he only worked one day in the entire month and was paid for that single day.
It went on for months.
To survive, he and his wife had to break the savings they had accumulated for the education of their four children.
Rumors were circulating among colleagues that downsizing would take place in early November.
“That’s when my wife and I decided to do something that could put food on the table for the family,” he says.
The answer? Start of a roadside stall, Kapten Corner.
“Kapten Corner is symbolic because of my job as an airline pilot captain. We thought it would be very eye-catching, ”he said.
Cruising The Biz’s Success
It’s a relatively simple business to start because it doesn’t require huge capital outlays.
“If we failed, it wouldn’t be a big loss for us either,” Azrin said.
What would cost RM 10,000 in capital was supported by the resources her family had had for years.
“We already had most of the equipment purchased for my mother-in-law’s Ramadan bazaar,” he said.
Tables, tents and cooking equipment were already in place.
All they needed were extra tables and chairs to accommodate customers and ingredients for meals.
Everything was set in stone and ready to take off.
Married in a line of cooks
As mentioned above, Azrin’s mother-in-law has been operating her stall in Ramadan bazaars for several years now.
On top of that, his wife’s family had worked in the school canteen all their lives.
However, they stopped doing it after her late father retired.
One of his brothers-in-law currently operates a restaurant in Nilai. Another studied cooking and served in the kitchen at the JW Marriott Hotel in KL.
“Her younger sister is also a self-taught cook. Cooking is therefore in the family’s blood, ”he said.
One of the first fears Azrin had was that it would take a long time for sales to start increasing, if at all.
“So much so that my mother-in-law had agreed not to be paid for her work until the business was up and running,” he says.
The same goes for the owner of Boom Town Cafe, a friend of his wife’s who offered the nearby space where Kapten Corner now parks.
She had promised not to collect any rent if the business failed.
But it was not. From the start, business exploded.
Friends longed for a bowl of Azrin’s food.
They were already fans of her stepmother’s cooking since she sold her dishes in bazaars and online during MCO.
With the 50% reduction for the opening day of Kapten Corner, they did not hesitate to try the dishes of Kapten Corner.
The stand sold out before night fell that day.
So at the end, he said, “Of course we paid them all.”
I’m not leaving aviation yet
Azrin has so far served 20 years in the aviation industry.
He has flown for MAS, Firefly, Lion Air and Malindo Air.
Entering the restaurant business was never part of his plan.
There has been no slowdown in the pandemic and his initial hopes of seeing the aviation industry bounce back by the end of the year simply did not materialize.
“Now without a job, I have to do it otherwise how will I feed my family?” He asked.
“Being fired wasn’t really upsetting because the situation was just beyond anyone’s control. We have to face reality.
Azrin hopes to one day return to the aviation industry because aviation has been his passion from a young age.
So much so that he turned down a MARA scholarship to study social sciences in Australia.
Instead, he went to Mofaz Flight Academy in Langkawi to learn how to fly.
At 44, he thinks he has a lot more to contribute.
With a type rating examiner’s license alongside a commercial pilot license, getting a pilot job when the industry heals won’t be a problem for him.
Confidently, he said: “Once the aviation industry is booming again, I will just apply for a job. All I need to do now is keep my current flight permit intact. ”
If that happens, he is hopeful his family members continue Kapten Corner.
That would leave him with an option, if he chose to come back in the future when he was tired of flying, or if the aviation industry suffered again.
- You can read more about Kapten Corner here.
- You can read more about other Malaysian startups here.
Featured Image Credit: Azrin Zawawi, Founder of Kapten Corner
Our sincere thanks to