Jocelyn Chng, 50, CEO of JR Group and Managing Director of Sin Hwa Dee Foodstuff

If anyone has the secret recipe to success, it’d be Jocelyn. Having grown up in poverty in 70s, the businesswoman overcame the odds and made millions as the managing director of Sin Hwa Dee Foodstuff, a large-scale manufacturer of bottled sauces and rice mixes.

A single mother of three after her husband passed away suddenly while her children were still young, Jocelyn is also the Chief Executive Officer at JR Group, which started serving hot meals from vending machines.

The company also focuses on manufacturing food for hotels, caterers, fast-food chains and airline caterers – an idea conceived by Jocelyn’s late spouse, Richard.

But perhaps her greatest culinary risk that’s paying off is her idea to dispense hot food from vending machines, dubbed Chef-in-Box.

Hot food from a box? While it may have its detractors, Jocelyn says it’s all a matter of perspective.

“Everybody says to me now, ‘Congratulations, you saw this coming before all of us.’ Yes, I smelled the business opportunity early, but making it is really about persevering through the challenges,” she says.

When the company launched its first machine dispensing hot meals in 2008 at a hospital, the machine could not keep food fresh for an extended period of time, and wastage was high.

Still, Jocelyn soldiered on and the company has since launched 100 standalone hot food vending machines in army camps, universities and industrial offices, before the first VendCafe was rolled out last year in August.

“Changing people’s lifestyles and mindsets is not easy, but we are excited about the revolution we are bringing to the F&B market,” she shares.

“When ATMs first came out, no one wanted to use them. They were wary and suspicious, but now ATMs have become the norm. It’ll be like that, too, with food from a vending machine.”

The highlight for many has been how delicious the hot meals actually taste, and priced between $3.50 and $5, what a bargain they are compare to eating out.

All the food served contain no preservatives and range from chicken bolognese to curry chicken with rice.

There are plans to open 20 more of these cafes next year in residential estates, offices and schools, with two up and running by the first quarter of 2017 in the HDB estates of Rivervale and Pasir Ris.

Words to live by: “Never give up, and allow yourself to adapt to change in order to be competitive.”

Next up: “There are ongoing plans to roll out more VendCafes, and we’re expanding internationally so you’re going to see more of our vending machines around the globe.”

The Great Women Of Our Time 2017 is proudly presented by Lancôme.