Sydney Quays, aged 48 years, is currently the Managing Director of Berjaya Starbucks Coffee Company (Malaysia) and Berjaya Food Supreme (Brunei). He is a pioneer with Berjaya Starbucks Coffee Company and the man who instrumented the establishment of the Starbucks brand in Malaysia in 1998. Currently, he is responsible for the overall management and strategy for Berjaya Starbucks Coffee Company and Berjaya Food Supreme.
Born and raised in Penang, Sydney graduated with Honors from Stamford University majoring in Hospitality Management and Marketing. He started his career in the hotel industry and subsequently in the QSR industry before joining the Berjaya Group. In his free time, Sydney enjoys reading while sipping on his favourite Starbucks beverage – Caffe Americano. Sydney strongly lives by the motto ‘the harder you work, the luckier you get’, he believes that one should be dedicated, committed and passionate in their work to achieve their dreams.
Since the opening of the first Starbucks store in Kuala Lumpur on 17 December 1998, Starbucks has expanded to Sabah and Sarawak and surpassed the 225 stores milestone in June 2016 with close to 3,800 employees. Now into the 17th year of operations, Starbucks has grown not only to become the favorite coffee place for Malaysians but also a productive member of communities across the country.
Aside from serving coffee, throughout the years under Sydney’s leadership, Starbucks created new markets through innovation. Starbucks VIA® was introduced in Malaysia in 2011, the instant and micro ground coffee provides expertly roasted, uniquely delicious cup of perfection from Starbucks – in an instant. In its efforts to adapt as the world rapidly evolves, Starbucks Malaysia introduced the new drive-thru concept stores. This new platform gives customers the option to enjoy their favourite coffee on the go, or at the store should they prefer to stretch their legs and relax. In Malaysia, Starbucks drive-thru concept stores are located throughout the peninsular of Malaysia. To provide greater convenience for Starbucks Card users, Sydney led Starbucks to introduce the Starbucks Card Mobile Application, where customers are now able to make in-store purchases by scanning their mobile phones at the counter.
“At Starbucks, we are not in the coffee business serving people, we are in the people business serving coffee. We want to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time. From our coffee to our customers, we care deeply because it is not just a job, it is our passion. Our work goes far beyond that, it is really about human connection.” Sydney said. Sydney introduced the ‘GO-SEE’ program, where partners from the Starbucks Support Center would conduct random visits to Starbucks stores as a customer and observe the store operations from the service to the quality of food/beverage. “This program would enable partners to provide feedback on what we call ‘The Starbucks Experience’, this is to ensure we provide and maintain consistent World Class Customer Service to all our customers.” Sydney said.
The Starbucks culture revolves around people and Starbucks manages its business through the ‘lens of humanity’. Sydney said, “We do not call our people employee or staff but we call ourselves PARTNERS. The word ‘partner’ means working together, giving the sense of belonging as a team and family. Our partners set out to create a great second place working environment for each other and provide the preferred third place to our customers. Such culture enables the partners to perform their best in delivering World Class Customer Service and highly satisfied customers which ultimately brings business result.”
Starbucks grooms its talented partners (employees) through its outstanding training and development programs. Most of the store partners are food service professionals and college students, and what they all have in common is their passion for great coffee and quality customer service, which ultimately helps them to bond as a family and build satisfying careers at Starbucks. “We believe that our partners are our biggest assets and we take pride in taking care of them, making them an integral part of the company.” said Sydney. “The commitment to our partners is a major reason why we are recognized as the leading specialty coffee company and the industry benchmark in Malaysia.” He added.
To further provide a better career path and sense of belonging to its existing partners who are deaf and who have been working with the company for at least three years, Sydney led Starbucks Malaysia to open a store in Kuala Lumpur, dedicated to raising awareness about employing deaf people and to celebrate the contributions of deaf workers and people with disabilities. Located in Bangsar Village II, a busy neighborhood shopping destination, the store is the first-of-a-kind for Starbucks globally and demonstrates Starbucks’ latest commitment to building a company where everyone is welcome, with inclusion at its core.
Besides that, Starbucks is actively involved in Corporate Social Responsibility. From the neighborhoods where Starbucks stores are located to those where coffee is grown, Starbucks is committed to make communities stronger. Starbucks Malaysia has dedicated 150,480 community service hours over the years which are the highest in Asia Pacific, bringing people together, inspiring change and making a difference in people’s lives – it’s all part of being a good neighbor. And it’s a commitment rooted in the belief that Starbucks can balance profitability and a social conscience.
Under Sydney’s leadership, Starbucks Malaysia has been recognized by prominent organizations as a leading employer. It won the 2016 Asia Responsible Entrepreneurship Awards, Social Empowerment Category, for Starbucks Connecting Communities project; Employer of Choice, Malaysia HR Awards 2015; Best Companies to Work for in Asia 2015, HR Asia; Best of the Best Award, Malaysia’s Best Employer 2015, Aon Hewitt.
Sydney expanded the business to Brunei and opened the first Starbucks store there on February 16, 2014 at one of the most popular shopping destinations in Brunei, Mabohai Mall under Berjaya Food Supreme. The first Brunei Starbucks store has been designed to reflect Starbucks 45-year coffee heritage, while embracing the country’s distinctive local traditions and culture. Key features include a ‘slow bar’ which allows customers to enjoy their favorite Starbucks® whole bean coffee, using the traditional Pour-Over brewing method, and a floor-to-ceiling glass window that brings the tranquility of the nearby Tasek Lama Recreational Park into the store. In addition, this store features locally-sourced furnishings, including traditional baskets from the local markets which have been repurposed as decorative artwork within the store. “Starbucks has been looking to establish a branch in Brunei for a long time and finally we found the right time to enter. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Brunei for supporting our brand and since day one when we opened in Mabohai Mall, loyal followers can be seen at our stores through their product knowledge and understanding of our brand.” Sydney said. Starbucks will be opening the second store in Beribi exploring the Drive-Thru concept in Brunei.
“Starbucks has always been passionate, from the sourcing of our coffee beans to serving that perfect cup of coffee at our store, we care. We want to live by the Starbucks Mission: To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time. From the beginning, Starbucks set out to be a different kind of company. One that not only celebrates coffee but also human connection. We want to bring together our partners, customers and community. Every Starbucks store is part of a community and we believe in contributing to the neighborhood in wherever we do business.” Sydney said.