KUCHING (Bernama) – He was earning a handsome salary of RM18,000 a month working as a Petronas engineer but willingly gave up his career three years ago to pursue his dream of running his own business.
Today, Mohammad Fuad Syamsul Hassan, 43, is a successful entrepreneur and runs USNA Homemade Burger which supplies beef, chicken and mutton patties to about 300 burger stalls all over Sarawak.
The business idea took root in his mind in 2007 after his father Hassan Hamdan passed away and his mother Usna@Zaleha Dawi started to feel lonely. He toyed with the idea of starting a small home-based part-time business with his mother which he thought would keep her busy.
“I suggested to her that we make our own low-fat minced meat patties as I realised there was potential for such a business and there were not many competitors then in this city (Kuching),” he said.
Mohammad Fuad first bought a small grinder and through trial and error devised his own recipe for healthy, low-fat meat patties.
But it took him four long years to perfect his recipe. His earlier recipes led to patties that were too dry and resembled fried beef, according to customer feedback.
He attended courses, including at the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), to improve his patty preparation skills and “learn the correct quantity of beef and fat to use in order to get perfect minced meat patties”, he told Bernama.
Mohammad Fuad said initially he faced a lot of challenges as he was not well-known in the market and there was not much demand for his product. Slowly, business picked up and in 2014, he shifted his business from his house to a factory located at Jalan Abdul Rahman Yaacub here.
“I still had my full-time job then and my family members helped to run the business,” he said.
Finally, in 2017 Mohammad Fuad made the decision to quit his career and focus fully on developing his USNA Homemade Burger enterprise.
He said after opening his factory, he met with new challenges as he had to get the halal certification from the Sarawak Islamic Religious Department, as well as MeSTI (Makanan Selamat Tanggungjawab Industri or Food Safety is the Responsibility of the Industry) certification from the health authorities.
“My mother and I always discuss ways to improve the quality of our products. Since it is easier to promote our products if they are nutritious and of high quality, we worked hard to get the certifications,” he said.
To meet the demand from its regular customers, USNA Homemade Burger uses an average of 3,200 kilogrammes of raw beef a month to produce 8,000 packages of patties. Each package has between five and 10 patties and is priced between RM15.50 and RM19.50.
Mohammad Fuad, who is married and has two daughters and a son, has five people working for him at his factory, excluding his family members, and has agents all over Sarawak to sell his products.
While beef patties are his speciality, his factory also produces mutton and chicken patties and beef meatballs.