BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Tarindak chain of restaurants opened its latest outlet at Brunei International Airport on Sunday, a branch that is staffed by 16 graduates — with little experience in the restaurant business — who are taking on the challenge of embarking on a new career in the food and beverage industry.
Dubbed “Tarindak Ungkayah Graduan”, the eatery opened to much fanfare with cabinet ministers and senior officials all present to support the initiative, which is funded by His Majesty the Sultan.
The young graduates — from seemingly incongruous backgrounds with degrees in everything from history to anthropology — went through seven months of intensive training in F&B management and will run all aspects of the restaurant from cooking to waiting tables.
With close to one in three Bruneian youth unemployed, His Majesty sponsored the programme to help support youth trying to step out of their comfort zone and find jobs in new fields.
“We can’t be choosy in what we want to have as our career because Brunei is pretty small and unemployment is increasing in Brunei. It [opportunities] won’t be given to you… we have to work hard for it and go from the ground up,” said Nurul Azyani Rudy Sahardey, a sociology graduate from Universiti Brunei Darussalam.
“Sociology is flexible, sociology is about interaction with people. The [restaurant] industry also has interaction but it is in terms of dealing with customers.”
History graduate Asmaliani Ahmad shared her colleague’s thoughts, saying: “You just have to grab the opportunity given to you. We want to show other youths that we can work [in new fields] outside of what we majored in university.”
Construction for Tarindak Ungkayah Graduan began in November 2018, and was completed in just two months. It is the third branch of the Tarindak restaurants after Tarindak D’Polo in Jerudong and Tarindak D’Seni in Bandar.
The restaurant interior incorporates Bruneian design elements, such as tudung saji-shaped lighting fixtures and a countertop with jongsarat in-lay.
Serving both Asian and Western dishes, the menu was designed by the graduate staff.
“I hope that the restaurant will receive good reviews from the public and that business will fly,” said Nurul Azyani. “[We hope] it will be popular among the youth, because it is run by youth.”
Tarindak Ungkayah Graduan is located at the departure hall of Brunei International Airport and is open every day from 7am to midnight.