maxwell hawker center

Food is such a big part of our identity as Singaporeans. We love our 3 Cs dearly: chicken rice, char kway teow and chilli crab. For many of us, we’re willing to queue and pay a premium to get our hands on these plates of piping hot perfection. It’s a sad day when our favorite hawkers close for good.

It’s a greater pity when these iconic food establishments get embroiled in family disputes. Not only do we not get to taste the food again, our memory of the dish is also marred by news of ugly court proceedings. Such is the case of Swee Kee, Singapore’s chicken rice pioneer and Yung Kee, Hong Kong’s Michelin-starred roast goose delight.

Why are successful food and beverage (F&B) family businesses not surviving past the first or second generations and how can we prevent that?

In many cases, the unravelling of the family tapestry didn’t happen because of the lack of financial planning. In fact, both the founders of Swee Kee and Yung Kee had wills prepared to ensure their family members are provided for. If there was one thing they overlooked, it was the continuation of values.

The values possessed by the first generation, like perseverance, are worth passing on together with their tangible assets. However, they are typically disregarded during the process of financial and family planning. Perhaps, if they were deliberately included in wills, the outcomes for these culinary powerhouses would be different.

At heritance, we want to help families effectively and efficiently pass on their family values and valuables across generations. We created the app to help families across different income levels and employment get the advice and help they need.

The first of this series, this article illustrates how the free heritance app (available on Google Play store & Apple App Store now) can serve the everyday humble hawker.


This function is where the user can identify his/her assets which includes both valuables and values. The former can include ownership of a stall unit, savings, or cash while the latter can include creativity, perseverance, or spirit of service.

Identifying your values and valuables will make it easier for you to determine how you want them to be passed on. For example, you’ve already set aside some emergency cash for your family members which can be immediately bequeathed to them in your will.

On the other hand, assets that you hold dear can be conditionally bequeathed to your beneficiaries. For example, the ownership of a stall unit is the culmination of your years of hard work and you only wish to pass it to a someone who can continue the family F&B business.

To use this feature, set out the terms the beneficiary must fulfil to gain a particular asset. Following on the previous example, for the beneficiary to inherit the stall unit, he/she must continue the family F&B business for at least a year. This way, you can ensure that the asset will be inherited by someone most suitable.

Confused with the different types of a roles involved in a will? We’ve unpacked their responsibilities for you in this article: What are the different roles in a will?


From the case studies of Yung Kee and Swee Kee, we saw that disharmony in the family stemmed from dissatisfaction between family members and the breaking down of communication channels. To prevent that, heritance created a feature called Tribe in the app.

It helps you identify family members and individuals whom you consider family. Once you’ve added them to your Tribe, you can further organize them into groups. For example, you can group your family members, friends, and fellow hawkers in different circles.

Then, it’s time to build, maintain and strengthen these relationships! Share memories in the form of photos, musings and even videos with selected individuals or groups. After all, relationship building can happen both off and online.

Memory time capsule

Another feature heritance has is called the ‘Memory Time Capsule’ or MTC for short. As its name suggest, store your memories digitally and have them delivered to anyone at any date or milestone.

As a hawker, family recipes are closely guarded secrets that are usually memorized or scribbled on notebooks. Consider using MTC to store them instead. You can use a variety of mediums, like videos or text, to record them in detail.

Whenever your children decide they’ll like to inherit the family business or want to learn a family recipe, you can share these recipes stored in MTCs with them. Through it, they’ll have a record of what you’ve painstakingly created for them, and they can save and pass it on to their children too.

Otherwise, use an MTC to share the lessons you learned in your lifetime. For example, the joy of finally being a stall owner or the lessons you learned after failing your first attempt at business. The possibilities are endless!

To learn more about Memory Time Capsule, read this article: What is a Memory Time Capsule?


The heritance app is meant for everyone regardless of their job and number of assets. Every individual and family have their own assets and values that are worth passing down.

From Swee Kee and Yung Kee, we see that pure financial planning isn’t enough to ensure a successful inheritance.  However, pairing values to valuables can make a difference. And this is what heritance together with its three features, aim to do.

Download the heritance app on Google Play Store or App Store now and start planning your legacy!