United by their mutual love for food, Qistina and her husband, Najib Hamid, are the driving forces behind the notable Serai Group. Serai Group’s humble beginning dates as far back to 1990 when Qistina’s mother started up a small food venture specialising in Northern Malaysian and Thai cuisines. In 2006, Qistina decided to expand the business upon returning home from Australia with a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design. Today, the Serai Group comprises seven brands under its belt. “Every new outlet is our pride and joy. Each brand is designed from scratch, from the concept and menu to design and food presentation.”
Qistina cites a lack of manpower, maintaining consistency in their food and ensuring that their brand is always relevant with the present as a few of the major challenges when it comes to running an F&B business. “We spend a lot of time dedicated to the job whether it is visiting the various outlets or supervising the production line,” says Qistina, who also credits her husband, Najib, a chef from Le Cordon Bleu in Adelaide.
Though their menus and concepts are also inspired by their travels abroad, Qistina points out that it is not about copying and pasting a successful concept overseas. “Know your local market and fill up the gaps. Something that works overseas may not necessarily work locally,” she advises. The busy new mum now wishes to focus more of her time on her new-born while pushing the Serai Group to new heights with expansion plans in store.