PETALING JAYA: Many an able-bodied person would shy away from starting their own business. Then again, many do not have the courage or tenacity to deal with the hard knocks of running a business as do Farid Zainuddin, 31 and Idzham Azahar, 20.
Both are disabled. They can neither hear nor speak but harbour the same dream of becoming successful entrepreneurs.
The duo run a roadside burger stall in Bangi and from the number of customers making a beeline to Aris Burger every day, they are proof that when you put your heart into a venture, you will succeed.
FMT spoke to Najib Abdullah, the Operations and Business Development Manager of Arisprop Holdings who oversee their business.
“Our company, Arisprop Holdings is actually a poultry-based business. In 2018, we decided to expand our range of products and introduced Aris Burger. Our speciality is the ‘Ayam Kampung Burger’.
To attract more entrepreneurs to sell this new product, Najib said his company conducted a programme detailing the burger’s uniqueness.
“After the programme, Farid and Idzham reached out to us, requesting for a job opportunity,” explained Najib.
Hoping to help make a positive change in their lives, the company set them up with a burger stall, provided them with lodgings nearby and even a motorcycle.
The plan was to provide Farid and Idzham with on-the-job training and once the pair was ready, to let them manage the stall themselves.
“We started off by training them in December last year. We gave them a job at the burger stall and provided them with a monthly salary and commission.
“After about four months, we felt that they were ready to proceed as entrepreneurs as they had shown their capability in managing the stall themselves.”
Once on their own, it became necessary to place a sign at the stall informing customers of their disability. So Farid and Idzham fashioned one in big, bold letters that reads: “Kami adalah usahawan OKU pekak” (We are deaf-mute entrepreneurs).
The customers here have been cooperative and understanding, Najib says. Rather than call out their orders, everyone is happy to jot it down instead in a book placed beside the menu.
He says the burger stall has become something of a novelty among the folk in Bangi as many have registered genuine surprise on learning that the two men expertly flipping burger patties and packaging their orders are deaf-mutes.
There is also much admiration for the men’s drive to become entrepreneurs and earn their own living.
In the evenings, the deaf-mute community mill around the burger stall to keep their buddies company and show their support of the two men’s efforts.
Najib too has high praise for Farid and Idzham, and was most impressed when they forked out their own money to purchase a tent for their burger stall.
Najib says it’s important that Farid and Idzham compete on an equal footing with other businesspeople and not expect charity from sympathetic customers.
Some customers tell them to keep the change but Najib insists that they return the exact amount owed to them as that is how successful entrepreneurs operate.
Farid and Idzham are already doing brisk sales and it is Najib’s hope that soon the two can run their own stalls, independent of each other.
If you’re in the vicinity, do drop by and put in your order for Ayam Kampung Burger, already a big hit with regular customers.
But do be prepared to wait – the queues are getting a little longer with each passing day.
Aris Burger Bangi
240, Jalan 8/3
Bandar Baru Bangi