10 Lessons I Learned From Old Chang Kee Aunties

About Old Chang Kee


On sluggish mornings and evenings, aunties at Old Chang Kee greet you with smiles, packing your delectable savouries into small bags for takeaway. A transaction takes place, and you leave Old Chang Kee happier than you were five minutes ago. 

With so many outlets sprouted across our little sunny island, everybody knows what Old Chang Kee sells. The convenience offered every time you need your savoury fix makes it popular among consumers - they recently won the Top Brand award in the 2014 Influential Brands survey in the F&B Kiosk category. 

One trend people may notice is how 80% of outlet employees at Old Chang Kee are over 45 years-old. Despite being much younger, I often wonder what it’s like being an Old Chang Kee aunty and what their job scope entails. I had the privilege of following an Old Chang Kee outlet supervisor for half a day, observing what the aunties do first hand. Here are 10 things I learned.


1. They work tirelessly 6 days a week


b2ap3_thumbnail_AT6A4048-Copy_Snapseed.jpgThese aunties work 6 days a week, even on public holidays, so that you’ll get your puffs any time of the week. Most aunties are no longer as youthful and energetic as they once were. Can you imagine standing for long periods, managing customers, and multitasking with other kitchen and stocktaking matters?  Respect.


2. They wake early while you’re snuggled under warm sheets


b2ap3_thumbnail_AT6A4137-Copy.JPGThe aunties on morning shifts wake at 4 or 5 a.m. depending on family commitments and how far they live from the outlet they work at. They have to be early to prepare and start cooking the curry puffs and other foods for the breakfast crowd.

The opening hours of Old Chang Kee is from 6:00a.m. to 10:00p.m.


3. If you visit often enough, you’ll become their VIPS


b2ap3_thumbnail_AT6A4109-Copy_Snapseed.jpgThe Old Chang Kee aunties know who their regulars are, what they want, and how they want their food packed or cut. That speaks volumes about them building rapport with their customers. 

One aunty that I spoke to shared with me how this particular customer of hers consistently requests to be served by her due to her understanding of his orders 


4. They’re more than willing to go the extra mile for you


b2ap3_thumbnail_AT6A4065-Copy_Snapseed.jpgIf you want your curry puffs packed in a box, you’ll get them boxed nicely. If you want them halved, you’ll get them halved. If want them individually packed, you’ll get them packed in separate bags.

They also receive bulk orders very often. The supervisor shared how they recently had a last-minute bulk order of 500 curry puffs, to be collected in the early morning the following day. She called the factory and prepared the order that same night, working with a few others overtime to fry and pack the curry puffs, just in time for collection. 


5. They’re busy. Super busy


b2ap3_thumbnail_AT6A4062-Copy_Snapseed.jpgThey have to prepare and cook the food, prepare the sauces and curries, serve customers, do stocktaking and cashiering duties, and ensure the place is spotlessly clean. The aunties also have to constantly keep track of which items are running low so that they can inform those in charge of frying food.

They also have to do miscellaneous things like topping up chilli, plastic bags and paper bags. The sheer number of things to do is intimidating.


6. They’re good at multi-tasking


b2ap3_thumbnail_AT6A4075-Copy_Snapseed.jpgYou don’t see aunties putting you ‘on hold’ when you suddenly appear in the queue on a quiet afternoon, do you? The aunty attends to you immediately, putting aside whatever she’s busy with. Their multi-tasking includes the countless times they pick and pack your curry puffs and tell you how much your purchase costs at the same time, with no punching of buttons on a calculator needed. 

All outlet employees are trained such that they can perform all duties required at the store so that it’ll facilitate smoother operation, especially during peak hours at the store. 


7. Cooking in a very hot kitchen


b2ap3_thumbnail_AT6A4097-Copy_Snapseed.jpgWho wouldn’t prefer working comfortably in a cooling, air-conditioned environment over being perpetually soaked in perspiration? We ought to be more appreciative of all the hard work that these individuals are doing behind the scene just so we can lay hands on that yummy curry puff!


8. It's a chili party all day, every day


b2ap3_thumbnail_AT6A4100-Copy.JPGDid you know there are 7 different chili sauces available at Old Chang Kee? I was told that the chili sauces have different flavours, spiciness, tanginess and that different sauces complement different savoury goodies for maximum taste payoff. 

It is a feat having to remember which chili sauce goes well with which item, and then recommend it to their customers amidst all the other multitasking they’ve got on hand. No sweat for these Old Chang Kee aunties though! 

FYI: The 7 types include sweet chili, sambal chili, sambal egg, sambal fish, nasi lemak chili, chwee kueh chili, and fiery football chili. 


9. They undergo courses to serve you better


b2ap3_thumbnail_AT6A4122-Copy.JPGBefore they start serving their first customers, all aunties have to go through stringent hygiene courses and other courses that help improve their customer service skills. Such courses emphasise the essential principles of quality customer service so all Old Chang Kee aunties are aware of the standards required of them. Additionally, the aunties go through refreshment courses as well. 


10. They have feelings, too


b2ap3_thumbnail_AT6A4113-Copy_Snapseed.jpgIt’s saddening how some people may neglect the fact that these aunties are human just like you and I. It is impossible to please every single one out there around us but they try their best. Sometimes it’s too easy to get annoyed at an auntie for being too slow or not remembering your order. Some people may even lodge complaints at the slightest dissatisfaction, rather than complimenting them for the times that they’ve performed well. We hope with this post, our readers will be better able to understand the life of an Old Chang Kee employee. 

This article is dedicated to all the aunties who work at Old Chang Kee. Thank you. 


Fun Facts About Old Chang Kee 

  • Their best-seller is the Curry ‘O
  • They’re able to serve an average of 25 customers in 5 minutes during peak hours
  • All crimping on their puffs are done by hand
  • There is a warmer beneath the trays of food at the counter, so those buried in the bottommost layer are, in fact, the warmest of them all
  • Peak hours generally last through 7:30-9:30 a.m. and 5:00-8:00 p.m.

About Old Chang Kee 


Old Chang Kee was established in 1956 and has since evolved. It now specializes in the manufacture and sale of a wide range of very affordable high quality food products including the signature curry puff. Production is carried out in a modern factory and high-end technology and stringent quality control measures ensure that the exacting standard, that is synonymous with the Old Chang Kee brand, is consistently achieved. All production processes and facilities are certified to have met HACCP and Halal standards. Old Chang Kee now markets its range of snack products, including its signature curry puffs, through kiosks along the road and retail outlets at petrol kiosks and shopping malls. Check out where your nearest Old Chang Kee outlet is here


About Influential BrandsTM


Influential Brands is a consumer insight driven awards programme which provides a platform for brands to celebrate their achievement; for consumers,, businesses and stakeholders to recognise the brands’ efforts in arriving where they are today. The study conducted by Influential Brands is purely consumer drive and the Top Brands are selected by consumers through their perception and preference, demonstrating the level of impact and influence of the brands in each consumer’s life. 

Influential Brands seeks to identify consumer preferences, their behaviors, values and to understand how the ever-changing environment affects consumer experience in the purchase journey. The Programme is tailored to enrich the brands’ relationship with their consumers through ongoing meaningful conversations and engagement.

For more information, like and follow Influential Brands on Facebook for more updates!


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