AList 2023-Neil Ng1

Neil Ng

Cafe owner of Fox Paradox and F&B consultant

Every elaborate motif inked on his heavily tattooed body carries a meaning. He had his first, a rose, at the tender age of 16. A tattoo is a means for him to express himself. “You have got to try our Sriracha French Toast,” beams the effervescent man who owns Fox Paradox, a highly-rated cafe located in the Ampang neighbourhood. 

Before opening his own cafe, Neil paid his dues working as a barista and cafe manager. He asserts that making coffee is more than just pushing buttons on a machine. “It is about the emotional connection with other people.” With his cafe standing on its own feet, he is diverting his energy to elevating other cafe owners who wish to pick his brain and tap into his know-how on a consultative basis. Among which are Loob Holdings and Bask Bear. 

What is your advice to someone looking to open a cafe?

For any business, not only cafes, when you go into the business, it is not about how much money you have. You must have experience in that field. Otherwise, you are just going to open something and nothing is going to be accomplished. 

What are some of the things people might not know about you?

To be honest, I had been an introvert my whole life. I couldn’t really talk to people. I was shy and low in confidence. When I got into making coffee, I wouldn’t be able to talk to anyone. But one day, this person came up and said to me, “Hey, it is a really good cup of coffee. It made my day!” It was epiphanic for me. From then on, I started to have more belief in myself. I wouldn’t say that I am an extrovert now, but I am definitely better.

What is your advice on time management?

It helps by waking up early. I wake up at 5am every day. It gives me ample time to reply emails, get ready for the day, and get my workout done. The extra three hours give me more time that I can use to contribute to my businesses. Of course, you have to learn to prioritise what you want to do. So plan your days and week ahead.

Neil wears a top, jacket, and trousers by Zegna