Kay Lee Roast Meat Joint

Secret roast pork recipe worth USD1.8m


How much do you think a recipe could possibly be worth? Well, according to the owner of Kay Lee Roast Meat Joint in Singapore, about USD1.8 million.

That’s how much the owner of the eatery and her husband boosted the eatery’s sale price by when they put it up for sale this year, according to Bloomberg.

Betty Kong and her husband are asking for SGD3.5 million (USD2.8 million) for their eatery, which consists of 60 plastic stools, even though the site had been valued at SGD1.25 million.

The asking price includes the property, their recipe for roasting duck, pork ribs and crispy pig skin as well as other traditional Cantonese-style dishes, plus three months of cooking lessons. The buyer will most likely also inherit the eatery’s loyal clientele that lines up outside, sometimes for more than an hour, for a meal.

“I have the heart to run it, but the body isn’t willing any longer,” said 66-year-old Mrs Kong. “I’m on my feet for eight hours a day and it’s becoming tedious now.”

The premium she and her husband are seeking for the eatery is more than 20 times the amount for comparable restaurants.

Lee Ai Ming, a partner at Rodyk & Davidson LLP in Singapore, believes trade secrets, including secret recipes, can boost the value of real estate significantly.

“It’s a very compelling example of the value of intellectual property,” she said. “It’s an example of the price of real estate reflecting the brand and goodwill associated with a location of a successful business, and I’m sure we’ll see more.”

At Singapore’s Roast Meat Joint, Kong’s husband, 62-year-old Har Wai Kay, rules the kitchen, waking up at 4am daily to prepare the dishes his father, whose roots are in Guangzhou, China, used to cook for his family in the 1950s.

The eatery generates sales of around SGD2000 a day or SGD620,000 annually, according to Mrs Kong.

Mrs Kong claims her property and recipes warrant the high premium partly because her roast pork uses special herbs and ingredients. She charges SGD5 for hers, while her competition, which can be found almost anywhere on Singapore’s streets, charge about SGD3.50 or less for theirs.

Lana Galea View Comments

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