Nasen Thiagarajan’s first food and beverage (F&B) experience was as a “bar-back” for a S$900 paycheck in 1991. Fast forward 30 years, the F&B and Nightlife industry veteran has spearheaded more than 20
openings and is now the CEO of Harry’s International.
Many of Singapore’s well-known F&B names are stamped with Mr. Thiagarajan’s imprint. One of them was formed when he was Operating Consultant in 2006 to the public listed group, Lifebrandz. Back then,
the iconic beach party destination, Café del Mar, opened in Sentosa with huge fanfare and great interest from the media and consumers. A cool concept from Ibiza and a beach club to see and be seen at.
Mr. Thiagarajan was also part of the nightlife and dinning scene in Melbourne and Shanghai at the turn of the century. In 1999 in Melbourne, he led the launch of a 20,000-square feet nightclub, SALT, after which he consulted other F&B and Nightlife businesses there. Six years on, he left for Shanghai to revamp a struggling international supper club concept, Le Fabrique – with just over a year, he managed to stabilize the business and assisted the shareholders in the successful sale of the club.
Having made a name in the cities of Melbourne and Shanghai, the go-getter came back to play instrumental roles in the operations, mergers and acquisitions of well-known local F&B groups. Refinery
Concepts, which merged with The Marmalade Pantry and The Food Chain, formed “The Big Idea”, a formidable local F&B group with unique and creative dining and bar concepts. Mr. Thiagarajan ran it for
seven years as COO before “Kitchen Language”, the F&B arm of real estate company, Far East Organization, acquired it. He continued to serve as Chief Operating Officer till late 2016.
The 46-year-old industry player is sharp and his concise strategies have made declining businesses profitable again. In 2016, he became the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Harry’s, Singapore’s largest chain of bar and dining establishments with 22 stores locally. The group won the distinguished Outstanding Brands Award 2016 in the Bar and Dining Category of Asia’s Enterprise BRAND awards. In 2019, Harry’s was awarded the Influential Top Brand 2019 – Bar and Dining category at the 2019 Asia CEO Summit.
While focused on improving profitability, Nasen is also working on regional expansion plans through franchising within Asia. Harry’s currently has a franchise model with 3 stores operating in Yangon,
Myanmar today with a further 3 stores in the pipeline.
His goal for the group is to continue to strengthen the Singaporean brand and grow their revenue size both locally and in the region.
On a personal capacity, Nasen contributes to the business industry as the Vice-President of The Singapore Nightlife Business Association (SNBA) and a Board Member of Singapore River One (SRO).