Lucas, the second-generation director of A-One Group and the famed A-One Claypot House, shares a Chinese idiom to sum up the mission of the family business. He fluently recites:
Lucas, Second-Gen Director of A-One Group
In just 18 characters, it means: “From generation to generation, the latter generation wins. The student must surpass the master.” Just as the saying goes, Lucas emphasizes how his philosophy of sincerity, humility, and responsibility now directly impacts the future of A-One Group.
From hawker stall to heartland chain restaurants
A-One Group started in 2008 as a single hawker stall in Macpherson by Lucas’s dad. Having been inspired by Chinese and Hong Kong cuisine, he decided to bring the chefs and recipes to local shores. As Lucas’s father worked on the menu offerings for A-One, he was inspired to better match Singaporeans taste profiles and preferences. Thereafter, he modified the flavour notes accordingly.
Today, A-One Group has over 20 restaurants across many heartland malls in Singapore. Many would be most familiar withA-One Claypot House. The establishment serves up Singapore’s favourite home-cooked goodness and specialises in traditional clay pot recipes.
Duty first: The second-generation’s mission
Lucas spent his childhood observing how the family business was run. Because of his deep-rooted sense of duty, Lucas didn’t think twice about returning to help. He had already finished his studies in London, but gave up his trader career. Lucas decided to take on the responsibility to helm the business and work alongside his dad. This was the beginning of his journey as the second-generation owner.
One might think that as the boss’ son, he would unquestionably be “parachuted into a top management position at A-One”. If you think this would allow one to boss their way around the company, it’s far from reality. With so many more long-standing and experienced senior staff around, Lucas talked about how his journey was no different from any other employee.
“I have to work double, triple hard to prove myself and gain the respect of my staff.’
Lucas, Second-Gen Director of A-One Group
The baton isn’t passed on easily. One has to earn it through the only way—the hard, honest way. It is a people industry after all. And gaining the trust and respect of the people comes second to none.
Not just a business: A-One Group’s beliefs
A-One Group isn’t just making its mark in Singapore with its brick-and-mortar claypot houses, or its investor mindset. It is, first and foremost, a local brand anchored on strong values. And the most important is good work ethics.
“No matter how talented you are, no matter how big the business is, if you don’t work hard and have good work ethics, it amounts to nothing,” Lucas explains.
The second value? Having a good people-first culture and treating all staff the right way. “We can have the best equipment and best recipe, but if our people are not in this (teamwork) together, things will not move and go anywhere.”
A-One Group provides free medical checkups up and vaccination for staff. On top of that, they have allocated a budget to donate food to charities regularly. Beneficiaries include old folks’ homes, children’s homes, and more. The establishment embodies the true meaning of being ‘hospitable’ and leads by example with their cooking from the heart.
A-One’s Claypot House’s signatures
A-One Claypot House’s signature dish, a crowd-favourite, is the Dried Scallop Porridge (干贝三色蛋肉碎粥). The congee is inspired by the traditional Cantonese methods of cooking porridge. Each portion boasts fresh, top quality scallops.
Psst! We even got some insider info as to why the homely dish is so well-loved. “I can divulge a secret on this porridge, we are very liberal on the quantity of the scallops!” One that matches quality with quantity!
The stock base of the porridge also uses top-quality sauces and broth. Salted egg is added for a touch of umami. It’s a simple bowl of porridge. Nevertheless, it brings a delightful sense of joy, especially on a rainy day.
If you are craving something unique yet rooted in traditional flavours, then the Claypot Dried Chilli Frog’s Meat 宫保田鸡煲 (from $19.90) is the dish for you. It’s prepared and served straight from the clay pot, as the porous material retains the heat and preserves savoury flavours. Succulent and top quality frog meat is marinated in a homemade soy sauce, cornstarch, spring onions, aromatic chilli, and their signature Kung Pao sauce to give it a sweet and spicy kick.
The next time you order a piping hot bowl of porridge at A-One Claypot House, know that your support goes a long way. This F&B brand has a sense of duty to their own people. Most importantly, the family values both generosity and kindness. As business owners, with hopes of seeing their latter generations surpass the previous, and do better.