Frog and I have been recently inducted to the wonders of Fatty Crab, a restaurant in the heart of PJ (Petaling Jaya) that is an institution by its own right. Our hosts had warned us that the place was basic, simple and can get very messy. We said bring it on! And we were not disappointed. The Fatty Crab business model is booming and here’s why:
There’s no reservation, so it’s first come first serve with hordes of people queuing outside looking longingly at those who managed to grab tables.
They have a wham-bam straight-forward menu: gigantic crabs piled on a plate with steaming spicy sauce; fried rice; toast (naturally for dipping into the deelish sauce) and chicken wings for your starter.
Table manners fly out the window. How else to get into a crab but smash its sauce-covered shell directly on the table napkin? Frog started to smash my crab on his plate, till he was told to stop being delicate and just hammer away on the table.
Cutlery? Just a plastic spoon for your rice – otherwise it’s fingers baby.
Crab remains are piled up in front of you, much like a trophy. I was quite impressed with my Crab Tower.
Once over, waiters just scoop up the table cloth with your plates and glasses inside, whilst another waiter whips out a clean table for the next customer. It’s Speedy Crab!
Cash is king at FC. They don’t accept cheques or cards so we’re talking wads of bank rolled notes in their tills.
Turnover is impressive. They open every night from 5.30pm til midnight and there’s not one moment of calm. Every night, all night, FC is churning out tons of crabs to hungry Malaysians.
In some ways, Fatty Crab’s business model reminds me of Paris’ famous Le Relais Entrecôte where there’s no reservation, only menu of steak-frites (fries) with yummy sauce and long queues of hungry Parisians outside.
So maybe there is something to be said about this type of business model? Fatty Crab already has a second location and Le Relais has 4 branches in Paris. It comes back down to business basics – keep it simple, keep it specialized and make it the best! Le Relais may be far for me now, but Fatty Crab has got my name on it. Thanks K & Z for the initiation!