There’s no denying that every industry was impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic, but I think it might be safe to assume that one of the industries most heavily impacted by it was the food & beverage industry. With restrictions on movement and delivery services, not to mention the breaking of pre-existing supply chains,  it’s no surprise that many restaurants struggled to survive. 

In this issue of the Marketing Expert Series, Yin Yin ‘Anna’ Goh, provides us with in-depth insight into how one restaurant chain survived the rapid changes sparked by the Pandemic. Join us, as we dive into not only Anna’s story about how she got to where she is now but also into the story of Burger King Malaysia’s digital transformation during and after the Global Pandemic.

Hi, Yin Yin, thank you for joining us in our Marketing Expert Series. Let’s kick off with a little background, can you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you get to where you are now? 

The pleasure is all mine. I’m Anna Goh – I’m a foodie, and I love to travel and enjoy a good read. 

Right after I completed my tertiary studies, I double hatted as Senior Trading Executive and Managing Director’s Personal Assistant at 99 Speedmart Sdn Bhd. I gained a wealth of experience on how to collaborate with suppliers & brands to feature their products and we worked closely on how to evangelize sales promotions across 99 outlets nationwide. 

As a Marketing Major graduate, I’m always looking for opportunities to extend my marketing knowledge in this industry. I was given a chance to head up my current Marketing department 7 years ago when the business owner of 99 Speedmart decided to take up franchises of Burger King in Malaysia and Singapore. Thinking back on my journey, it’s really a dream come true.

You’re the  Head of Marketing at Burger King Malaysia. Tell us about the work you do at Burger King in that role.

It’s a long list but I’m going to briefly touch on what I do: I am responsible for Burger King’s Brand Management and its Corporate MarCom. Anything related to brand positioning, new product development and product launches, advertising and restaurant image enhancement are also under my care. 

My typical day-to-day would be to prepare project proposals and lead campaigns from planning to activation and launches. On top of that, there’s admin fun stuff like monitoring reports, budgets, campaign performances, ROI & projection. Oh yes, and I also oversee the franchisee’s local store marketing activities and execution as well.

What sort of impact did the COVID-19 pandemic have on Burger King Malaysia?

The business is severely impacted, be it sales and in-store traffic as the consumers are afraid to step into restaurants to make their purchases. Most of the sales were contributed by delivery platforms. We are also facing serious supply chain disruptions such as sea freight delays, shortage of ingredients, etc.

How have the developments of the COVID-19 Pandemic affected your strategies as Head of Marketing? What challenges and/or developments have you had to adapt to since 2020? How have you overcome them?

The developments of the COVID-19 Pandemic restricted everyone’s movement and that affects our strategies. Besides that, the pandemic has taught Malaysians to be more technology savvy as we were required to scan a QR code whenever we visited a place. This changes our strategies as well, we used to invest a lot in OOH advertising, but during the lockdowns, no one would see those ads on the road and no brand awareness was built. We did not do a lot of digital advertising back then, but the pandemic has led us to shift our marketing investment and focus to digital platforms. We have also introduced e-wallet payment options to reduce physical contact during the sales process. 

What sort of lasting impact do you believe the pandemic’s forced acceleration of digital transformation has had on the food and beverage industry?

We expect customers to stick with digital interactions as a direct result from the pandemic. 

As for the F&B players, they foresee restaurants will have to offer more online services to the public in order to adapt to changes in consumer behaviours post-pandemic.

Do you think that this impact has permanently changed how you and your team go about your work? Where do you see your strategies going in the next few years?

Yes, it does impact the way we conduct our work because change is constant and we have to adapt and adjust from time to time. Even though the acceleration of digital transformation is in place, we do see some shift back in sales from digital platforms to physical platforms as the extra cost incurred of using digital services is one of the factors. 

In the next few years, we will be focusing on sustainability by reducing paper coupon printing and publishing more digital coupons. To be aligned with the regional business direction, we are also working on removing preservatives, artificial colours and flavourings from the food we serve as in BK we believe that real food tastes better. For brand visibility, we are thriving to have a balanced brand exposure on both digital and non-digital platforms in order to maximize consumer reach.  

Any advice you’d give to young and/or aspiring marketers? 

Change is constant hence always be prepared to change. Know your market and customers well or else they change you.

It’s been great to learn more about you and your work, Yin Yin, thank you for sharing. How can people connect with you if they’d like to know more about you or Burger King Malaysia’s work?

I can be contacted through LinkedIn.

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The Marketing Expert Series features marketing and communications experts from across every industry. Every month, 2Stallions will showcase the stories and expertise of marketing experts from around the world, join us as we explore how marketers navigate the challenges of the regions and industries they work in. If you’d like to be featured in the next issue of the Marketing Expert Series. Please reach out to us via email.

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