Christian Tan shares how traded his tech job for F&B ventures, and tells us about his introduction to the sustainability scene.
Dive into our chat with Christian Tan, the co-owner and director behind the scenes at Tanjong Beach Club and The Loco Group. He shares how traded his tech job for a life of F&B excitement, taking a leap of faith and pouring his savings into creating a hotspot like no other. Plus, get the scoop on his new gig as a tree-planting, carbon-fighting marketing advisor for Green Steps Group.
5 things we discovered about Christian Tan
#1 He’s all about the hands on approach
Even though Christian used to work at an IT company in a regional role based out of Sydney, he and his brother, Julian, frequently visited Singapore and enjoyed hanging out at Tanjong Beach. Feeling tired of their corporate jobs, Christian and Julian, who worked as an investment banker, decided to explore the idea of opening a hospitality venue in Singapore. Tanjong Beach Club took 10 months to build and was funded with their life savings. Despite chaos during the opening night due to heavy rain, the beach club was a massive success from day one. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Christian and his dedicated team embrace a hands-on approach in their businesses. They’re actively present in their venues, engaging with staff, acknowledging their efforts, and attentively listening to client feedback. They diligently analyse sales data, closely monitor reviews, and even reach out to guests personally to gain deeper insights and address any concerns. This hands-on dedication has been instrumental in their success.
#2 He expanded the business by targeting corporate clients
Christian experienced a steep learning curve at the beginning of his journey as a business owner. Working closely with the Longbow group and his brother, they focused on the corporate events side of the business to recoup their substantial investment. They discovered a high demand for corporate events in Singapore, particularly at their beach club, which was ideal for team building and networking.
They successfully organised events ranging from 50 to 5,000 guests, attracting clients like McDonald’s, BMW, and various banks and consulting firms. Through this experience, Christian gained valuable insights into the hospitality industry and learned how to manage a large team and navigate the complexities of running a venue. Despite the challenges, he enjoyed the process and found it rewarding.
#3 Running an F&B business is a team effort
Creating the illusion of ease is a common misconception, as Christian knows all too well. While the surface may appear serene, beneath it lies a flurry of activity. From the meticulous coordination of food, drinks, music, and ambience to the seamless execution of reservations, numerous moving parts must synchronise to ensure an unforgettable guest experience.
Although there isn’t a single secret recipe for success, one key ingredient stands out: Christian’s hands-on approach and deep involvement in the business. He attributes their accomplishments to the passionate and skilled management team they’ve cultivated, as effective leadership sets the tone for the entire business operation.
#4 Christian’s risk-taking approach is inspired by his entrepreneurial genes
When Christian reflects on his family dynamic, there’s a common entrepreneurial thread. His father had a taste for it, and he believes he drew inspiration from his ventures. His brother Eugene has also achieved remarkable success with a cell phone business alongside his wife Debbie. That’s why taking risks is a shared trait among them.
Creativity is another common element that fuels their entrepreneurial spirit. They constantly bounce creative ideas off one another, thinking outside the box. Their drive is infectious, and people are drawn to their passionate approach.
His mother’s can-do mindset and the personal development books she had around the house also played a significant role. Her positive outlook on family, life, and business provided an invaluable foundation for their entrepreneurial endeavours.
#5 He stepped into the sustainability scene to off-set carbon footprint
Several years ago, Christian was determined to offset the business’ carbon footprint but lacked the knowledge and guidance. When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, he dove into sustainability and explored potential opportunities. He connected with his neighbour, the founder of Green Steps, an eco-tech platform that allows small businesses to buy trees or purchase waste collected from beaches based on its weight.
As a start-up, they’ve already planted over 100,000 trees. They focus on ensuring the trees’ survival and environmental impact. Annually, they offset 2.4 million tons of carbon and plant 90 different species of trees. Additionally, they’ve generated approximately 600,000 community hours, providing job opportunities for rural communities.
Christian has invested in Green Steps and contributes to its growth through marketing and branding efforts. The team is currently in discussions with venture capitalists to support their expansion, aiming to become a regional or even global business. Ultimately, his main motivation is to make a positive difference for people and the environment.
Discover more about Christian’s inspiring journey on Launchpad’s Good Business podcast episode.