A feud has reached the boiling point in the F&B industry in Singapore when two parties are involved in a lawsuit over who owns the wanton Mee brand ENG.
If you stay east or love wanton noodles, you may know something about the rivalry between the two ENG's wanton noodle shops on Tanjong Katong Road.
ENG's original Wantan noodle is currently located on Tanjong Katong Road and was opened in 2012 by its founder Ng Ba Eng.
It is known for its springy wanton noodles, delicious wanton dumplings, fried pork fat and their exceptionally hot chilli sauce.
Opposite ENG's Wantan Noodle is ENG's similar Char Siew Wantan Mee store, which opened after a lawsuit by NG's children.
This encouraged us to find out what happened in the ENG vs. ENG saga that has been going on for years.
How it all started
Ng Ba Eng started ENG & # 39; s more than 50 years ago from a handcart store.
In the 1970s, he opened his first ENG Wantan Noodle booth at the Dunman Food Center.
In 2012, Ng joined an investor, Jason Sim, who pumped in S $ 150,000 and moved his booth to a store at 287 Tanjong Katong Road.
Photo credit: Yue Hern.me
Unfortunately, Ng died of a heart attack the following year.
The company was later renamed ENG's Noodles House and has since been registered as a company under Ngs son Desmond Ng and Sim's wife Pauline New as director and shareholder.
From there it went downhill
Until March 2016, things didn't work out between them.
They went to court and raised issues such as account irregularities, equity disputes, and customer service disagreements.
It has been rumored that there have been many customer complaints regarding the quality of service from Ng and his two sisters after taking over the business from their late father.
Ng filed for court closure of ENG's Noodles House, but decided that the only way he could exit the million dollar business was by selling his shares to the other shareholders, which Ng refused.
Photo credit: ENG's Wantan Noodle
The court subsequently rejected his application and ordered him to pay S $ 4,000 in legal costs to New.
In the end, the business was taken over by the CEO of the Lao Huo Tang soup chain, Thomas Hong, who is a fan of the noodles.
It was renamed Eng & # 39; s Wantan Noodle and managed together with one of the original business partners.
Although they are now under a different company, loyal customers have continued to visit the shop.
After the separation, ENG's Wantan Noodle also retained half of the employees and cooks who were previously the proteges of the late Ng.
Go head to head: who is the upper floor?
Photo credit: ENG's Wantan Noodle
In 2018, Ng and his two sisters founded Char Siew Wantan Mee from ENG at 248 Tanjong Katong Road, directly opposite ENG's original Wantan noodle.
The new ENG's Char Siew Wantan Noodles shop has air conditioning and more seating, unlike the original ENG's Wantan Noodle.
Not surprisingly, both places have the same main elements on the menu.
ENG's Wantan noodles have followed the same menu, focusing on noodles, wanton and poached vegetables, and are proud to adhere to the late Ng's recipe. They also kept the same green plates that were used to serve the food.
Photo credit: Engs Char Siew Wantan Mee
ENG's Wantan Noodle subsequently opened 12 additional stores in Singapore, while ENG's Char Siew Wantan Mee has two stores on Tanjong Katong Road and the East Village.
Both repeatedly claimed that they were the original – Char Siew Wantan Mee from ENG even marketed himself on his social media pages as "The One & Only Original Award-Winning Brand".
Put on trial again
Last week the news announced that Ng was sued by New for an alleged conspiracy to "hurt" their business, Eng & # 39; s Noodles House, where the original restaurant was located.
His two sisters and another shareholder, Bill Teng, who owns five percent of the shares in ENG's Noodles House, defend him in the lawsuit.
The process for the current case started last Monday (July 20) and is expected to end on August 7.
These acts include trying to seize the assets of Eng & # 39; s Noodles House, including its intellectual property, and deliberately closing the business in 2018, although it was profitable.
Photo credit: Singapore Law Society
She also claims that Ng and Teng were misled when signing documents to water down their stake in Eng & # 39; s Noodles House in 2015, which could make them majority shareholders in the company.
This ultimately resulted in her being dismissed as director in June 2018, and potential legal action by the company against both men was stifled, she claims.
Ng and Teng are also accused of violating their duties as directors of the company.
The Ngs counter New because of their alleged stake in Engs Wantan Noodle and deceive Eng & # 39; s Noodles House's former customers that Eng & # 39; s Wantan Noodle is the same business founded by the Ng family.
Will it ever end?
Both parties clearly "fight" for ownership of the ENG brand name.
Ng and his siblings feel they are right to own the brand because they are the descendants of the late Ng, while ENG's Wantan Noodle shareholders also do a good job of preserving the legacy and tradition of the original business.
This appears to be a longstanding feud between the children of the original founder and the shareholders of the original ENG Wantan noodle.
Due to the lawsuit in 2018, the court ruled in favor of New, so there is a high probability that New will also win this current case.
Will business rivalry lead to unhealthy competition?
Competition always arises when at least two parties strive for a common goal that cannot be shared.
The competition prompts companies to develop new products, services and technologies that give consumers more choice and better products.
As a rule, this also leads to lower prices than if there were no competition (monopoly) or little competition (oligopoly).
In this case, both wanton shops will continue to maintain the quality of their food at competitive prices.
If one stops the business, it is a gain for the other, but for the consumer, which may not be the case.
Selected image source: Char Siew Wantan Mee / Yue Hern.me from ENG