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Cat and the Fiddle: The Cake with Cheesy Stories

By KF Seetoh - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014

It’s not news that he sold his famous former cake and pastry business for a tidy sum a few years ago. He was among the first to cater to those who get no satisfaction from pandan chiffon cakes and kopi and offered lemon meringue pies and gold leaf gilded cakes with designer beverages. He sold that Bakerzin bakery and café business and headed off into the sunset. But the burning question in me was – Why? “Of course we sold it to turn some cash around”, owner Daniel Tay frankly admits, “I am tired of that old business and cowboy-style high rental increases, plus the tight labour situation made me lagi (even more) tired.” So after a couple of years out of the rat race and time off to smell the flowers, Daniel came back with a new idea and renewed energies.

 

Daniel has no plans to fully automate his cheesecake factory sweatshop for now.
As a hands-on boss, Daniel gets in on the action floor too.

 

“Cheesecake is the way to go, it’s gonna be a hit,” he beams and was all ready to show me the $2 million factory he set up to do just that. But not before I laid it to him gently that, erm, cheesecakes are not new and had been around for yonks and the sun has kind of set on that cake many years ago. He dug deep for a response before the epiphany, “But I sell a more inspiring and funky range, plus I sell them up to 40% cheaper”. Now, to me, that is a strategy. He sells them only online and his cakes averages $20-$30, versus the $35-$55 price range for similar ones in the market. “I don’t have to worry about retail shops and rents and we can concentrate just on making it at the factory and taking orders online. I also don’t have retail manpower shortage problems”. He has fifty skilled staff in his Cat and the Fiddle factory and the place is not fully automated – “just a big bakery with good facilities and no, I will never allow these to be fully made by machines”, Daniel clarifies.