Dato’ Dr John William Xavier is synonymous with The Big Rajah, but only few know where that name originated from. In the chronicles of the Mysore kingdom in India, John is a direct descendant of the Mysore kings. Hence, at home, he was always referred to as “Raja” (which means “king” translated from Sanskrit). When he decided to venture out on his own, with his father’s support and blessing, he decided to combine these names into The Big Rajah.
He started the company with only RM90,000 seed capital and worked very hard to see its financial break-even point after the third year. What he cherishes most is his core team who has been with him for over 30 years – e.g. Head Chefs, Operations Director and Events Design Director. This is testament to friendship, loyalty and trust, which few can testify to.
John was born in Petaling Jaya, Selangor on October 20, 1961. He was the third child in a family of four, and the only son of the legendary food icon, JJ Xavier. He attended La Salle PJ and studied at Stamford College. John came from the school of hard-knocks. The food business just ran in his blood – having watched it first-hand and being raised into the family business since young.
Dr John was awarded an HON. PhD (Hospitality & Catering Science) in recognition of his significant contribution to the food industry. Aside from food, John is a recognized force in the events management sector, being the main subcontractor for the launch of the Petronas Twin Towers, the principal organiser for the Home Ownership Campaigns and numerous public listed and multinational company launches. He is also a veteran in the property markets, being a qualified licensee for over 30 years.
John is presently the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Big Rajah (TBR). The company was honoured to have been awarded the Asia Pacific Brand Laureate Award 2012 for Best Brands in SMEs. Last year, TBR was bestowed the “SME 100 Awards for Fast Moving Companies”.
Since young, John had always dreamed of being able to feed the thousands. As he quickly points out, one cannot do that in a restaurant business but only through the catering industry. The pinnacle of this was when TBR catered for more than 15,000 persons in one day alone. Only a well-run business, precisely timed and coordinated could accomplish such a feat. One of TBR’s most valued accomplishments is its “feeding kitchen”. Every month, TBR feeds up to 400 homeless people in the city. Interestingly, here is where street people are fed food fit for royalty with its uncompromising standards for everyone alike.
TBR moved its operations to Taman SEA in line with the need to expand in 2010. Today, it employs 45 full time employees and another 150 part timers. The largest single event was North Port where it catered for over 10,000 pax. As TBR is a very local and personalized business, the company has no plans to expand overseas at the moment but intends to consolidate and strengthen its local market presence.
In recent years, TBR has been approached by leading airlines to offer its catering services on its flights. However, TBR’s first calling is to service its regular loyal clientele in the Klang valley and it has no plans to diversify from its original calling.
On a personal front, John is a very big hearted and a witty person. He is compassionate and kind, willing to mentor, teach and guide his team. He is also an outstanding leader constantly inspiring his team towards the company’s mission and goals and rewards them generously. A very well respected person in the community, John is a man of integrity who values professional competence and personal character.
His professional chant include, ‘Thinking out of the box to innovate’, ‘Being open to cross industry ideas’, and ‘Listening very closely to clients, customers and competitors’. He believes that “If you don’t take care of your customers, someone else will.” His personal formula for success is putting God first in his life. John is an Elder and Board member of the Grace Assembly of God. He is extensively involved in social works within the community such as the Home for Destitute Mothers, drug rehabilitation centers and orphanages. He is very passionate in giving his best to society whilst balancing his family and business requirements. John is a “foodie” (food enthusiast). Every year, he would take international gourmet trips with his wife and his trusted fellow foodies, discovering culinary delights that the world has to offer.
The Big Rajah is a full service catering and event planning company that aims to provide the A to Z of a function requirements. Its motto is to prepare banquets fit for a king, and the team aims to deliver to each customer its motto “where excellence is truly served”. One of John’s most famous and original quotes: “Spices in the hands of a master chef are like paint on the palette of a great artist”.
TBR is learning and listening organization, dedicated to continual self-improvement, aiming to exceed the expectations of its customers. The business has married up to 3 generations of families. For a young country like Malaysia, it is rare that you can hear the echoes of these words on the most celebrated day of your life: “my parents and grandparents had them for their wedding … and now, it is my turn!”. It is now becoming tradition in families to have a “TBR Wedding”. And nothing makes John happier than the satisfied look on his customers’ face, one generation after another.