The Coffee Connoisseur

As the CEO of Berjaya Food Berhad and Starbucks Malaysia, his life may be fast-paced but Sydney Quays values family time more than anything else. Here, he tells us what he does on his downtime and more.

It’s been 33 years since Quays, now 53 years old, studied hospitality at the American Hotel & Lodging Association in the United States, and yet, his passion for the industry has not wavered. “I think there is no business that can compare to the food and beverage business in terms of dynamism, constant evolution of trends and consumer behavior, and diversity of offerings. Take two years ago (before the COVID-19 pandemic), the F&B landscape was so different from what it is today, and it will be different in the next two years,” he shares.

One of his biggest achievements to date is seeing how the Starbucks brand, which debuted 23 years ago in Malaysia, grew into what it is today. From the first store, which was in KL Plaza (now known as Fahrenheit 88) in 1998 to over 330 outlets today, and having the opportunity to employ over 5,000 people, Quays has undeniably been the key player in the success of the brand.

Quays is a firm believer in hard work paying off. “Having success at work will lead to success in family and life, because ultimately, the harder you work, the luckier you get,” he explains. In this day and age where maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tricky, Quays does not find it tough. “Personally, I love what I do, so I don’t feel that there is a need to separate them,” he adds.

However, Quays knows how to unplug and recharge when he needs to. This Penangite says, “I’m kind of a DIY person so I like to ‘fix’ stuff around the house, which sometimes drives my family nuts! Other than that, I like to stay fit by doing some cardio exercises like running on the treadmill, cycling, and rowing on a daily basis.” On his days off, Sydney can be found spending time with family. As a husband and father of two children, he shares, “My family is my biggest support system. They not only inspire me but also drive me to work harder so that I too can become a role model and inspire them to do the same. It’s not every day that we’re all together as my kids are in their early 20’s, so it’s nice to have that time to ourselves.”

On living in Tropicana
With the latest and largest launch of the Starbucks Reserve outlet at the Tropicana Gardens Mall in Kota Damansara, it made sense for Quays to also invest in property nearby – the Tropicana Edelweiss. “I have always appreciated Tropicana properties. They have excellent post-sales service and the team has just been very accommodating to me. I was also very pleased with the amenities that will be provided with the residence. And seeing as how Kota Damansara is a place that has been coming up and developing so fast, it’s not only becoming a very trendy address to live in but also a great investment for the future.”