Knock knock, anyone home? I can't believe we are halfway into 2014. The blog has collected a bit of dust; it's always on my mind to jot a few things down here and there, but it gets bumped down the list of things to do when various urgent things pop up.
2014 has been a pretty exciting time for me and the business. Getting Shinkansen established, the opening of The Secret Mermaid, distribution of spirits with Liberty Spirits Asia, tinkering with Standing Sushi Bar, and working on a refresh of Tanuki Raw has been good. With a few years of F&B under my belt and many lessons learned it's about time that I apply them. The next three months will bring 2 new branches of Shinkansen (well, actually in the next two weeks) and 1 branch of Standing Sushi Bar. Some spaces opened up that seemed ripe with opportunity, so I decided to go for it.
Part of me thinks we're being a little aggressive with expanding, but I feel Singapore is one of those places where you almost have to expand or die. If you only have a few branches your business is at the mercy of your lease. The restaurants might be doing well but if you're unable to renew your leases then poof... your business is gone.
Of course the big issue that F&B operators grapple with (and probably true across the service and retail industry) is staffing. As we expand we need more staff, but it's desperately hard to find local staff. Would you commit to new spots without having any idea how you're going to staff it? (I do, but whether that's a good thing is debatable).
I think it's worth spending more time looking outside of Singapore. There are a few interesting opportunities in Malaysia and Indonesia. It's been exciting getting on planes to go see what's happening over there. Even if nothing pans out, it's fun to brainstorm and think about what one can do in different cities.
Anyway, a new branch of Shinkansen opens tomorrow at United Square in Novena!