Yusheng for Chinese New Year

Straight out of the winter holiday season we’re directly heading into Chinese New Year. The time for us to all get together and toss raw fish, salad, and other ingredients as high as we can. Lo Hei!

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This year we will be offering yusheng with your choice of salmon, tuna, or yellowtail (or a combination of the three).

Regular Size (9 slices) – 26.80 SGD
Large Size (18 slices) – 33.80 SGD
Additional sashimi (9 slices) – 10 SGD

To order please e-mail eat@standingsushibar.com or call the branch you would like to pickup your yusheng from.

8 Queen Street: 6333 1335
Marina Bay Link Mall: 6634 7068

Available from January 1 to February 6 with the exception of January 21 – 26 when we will be closed for Chinese New Year.

Dinner sets now available at 8QSAM

It has been a looooong time coming (I’ll explain the reasons in another post) but finally we have dinner sets!  No longer will people have to page through our a la carte menu and wonder how they can construct a meal.  After a hard day’s work everyone just wants to relax.

So at Standing Sushi Bar 8QSAM we have created a new set menu that applies to lunch and dinner.  Best thing is that we changed the price points and now the set meals are from 13 SGD onwards!

Check out our set menu

In a couple weeks we’ll have a new version of the set menu (with pictures) as well as a new a la carte menu for 8 Queen Street and Marina Bay Link Mall. 

Gindara Nabe Set
Excuse the photo quality – it’s taken by my phone camera. It’s the Gindara Nabe set.  Healthy!

Call 6333 1335 for reservations at 8 Queen Street!

Father’s Day set menu

I came out with the Mother’s Day set menu rather late, so this time I’ll be early with the Father’s Day menu.  Treat your dad to a special meal at Standing Sushi Bar this June 19!

Early birds get rewarded – 20% discount for making a reservation by June 12

Menu A (68 SGD per person)

  • Pidan Tofu
  • 3 kinds of appetizers
  • California Handroll
  • Ikura (salmon roe) Chawan Mushi
  • Grilled King Prawn with Mentai sauce
  • Robatayaki skewers – bacon & tomato, foie gras, yakitori
  • Noodle – choice of cold cha soba or hot Inaniwa udon
  • Dessert

Menu B (88 SGD per person)

  • Pidan Tofu
  • 3 kinds of appetizers
  • Sashimi (5 slices)
  • Robatayaki skewers – beef & enoki, tebasaki (chicken wing), shiitake
  • Hamachi kama shioyaki (grilled yellowtail cheek)
  • Sushi nigiri (5 pieces) and miso soup
  • Dessert

Nama chocolate

Each dad receives a free box of nama chocolates (15 pieces) from Japan. Yum!

The Father’s Day special menu is available only at our 8 Queen Street location. Space is limited so reserve today by calling +65 6333 1335 or mailing eat@standingsushibar.com.

What if Tin Pei Ling and Nicole Seah were sushi?

Election fever has gripped Singapore, and the candidates getting the most attention are Tin Pei Ling from the People’s Action Party and Nicole Seah from the National Solidarity Party.

Tin Pei LingNicole Seah

I don’t know about you, but whenever I meet someone new, I wonder what they would be like if they were a sushi roll.

I gathered available information about the two candidates and then gave my interpretation to the sushi chefs for them to create an actual roll.  Isn’t it convenient to own a Japanese restaurant?

Tin Pei Ling roll
Tin Pei Ling roll

Nicole Seah roll
Nicole Seah roll

If you want to find out how these rolls taste; they’re available from now through May 7 at Standing Sushi Bar 8QSAM for 10 SGD each!

COMMENT CONTEST – submit your interpretation for how the above sushi rolls are like their namesake or come up with your own description of a Tin Pei Ling / Nicole Seah sushi roll!  Best comment (as judged by me) posted by May 7 wins a 25 SGD voucher to Standing Sushi Bar (be sure to leave your e-mail address for contact)

Lunch and Dinner Gozen set (multi-course meal)

One trait of Japanese restaurants seems to be the huge number of items on their menu. This is a trait that Standing Sushi Bar also has. Diners come, take a look at the menu, and many end up feeling overwhelmed by the number of choices. I can understand. People like a variety of food during a meal, but the effort it takes to wade through a large menu makes them want to stick with the basics they can order off the top of their head.

To help alleviate this, we have created some multi-course gozen sets for lunch and dinner. Perfect for the lazy diner who wants to eat the highlights from the restaurant (i.e. a diner like me).

These are available daily at our 8QSAM location.

Lunch Gozen42 SGD (includes everything below)

  • Seasonal appetizer
  • Salad
  • Assorted sashimi (5 kinds)
  • Ikura Chawan Mushi (steamed egg with salmon roe)
  • Gindara with Teriyaki Sauce (grilled codfish with teriyaki sauce)
  • Rice and miso soup
  • Ice cream

Dinner Gozen – 60 SGD (includes everything below)

  • Seasonal Appetizer
  • Salad
  • Assorted Sashimi (5 kinds)
  • Gindara Mentaiyaki (grilled codfish topped with cod roe)
  • Tempura Mori (2 shrimp tempura, 1 fish tempura, 3 vegetable tempura)
  • Assorted sushi (3 nigiri, 2 maki)
  • Miso soup
  • Ice cream

Call 6333 1335 or e-mail eat@standingsushibar.com to make reservations!

What I used to look forward to

I used to look forward to holidays, paydays, and rainy weekends.

Since opening the restaurant, I find myself cursing weeks that have holidays, dreading the payday at the end of the month, and staring out the window wishing the rain would stop.

Why?

Holidays – two branches of Standing Sushi Bar are located in the Raffles Place business district. Since it’s the business district, the majority of the business occurs during the weekdays, especially the lunch period. That’s 20 days a month to sell enough sushi to cover rent, inventory, payroll, etc. On those 20 days a month, you’re really looking at a 2 hour or less lunch rush each day. 40 hours to make enough money for expenses and hopefully some profit.  When there is a holiday, that’s cutting into the 20 days a month… now you’re down to 19 days. Plus people like to extend their holidays by taking the weekday before or after as vacation… now 18 days. Difficult.

Payday – As a small business, and as the person doing the administrative work, the act of writing paychecks is the manifestation of money flying out of the pockets. Calculating CPF, writing checks, printing payslips, etc. for 25+ people is a mixed feeling. It’s great that the staff will be happy and flush with money, but the drained account and tired wrist make me (sad face).  Smile

Rain – I’m like a crazy Native American during the week, trying to do rain dances at lunch time. When it rains the folks in Raffles Place don’t want to get wet so they stay in the underground malls where two of the restaurants are. It’s a definite full house when it rains during a weekday lunch.  On the weekends it’s our 8 Queen Street outlet that we have to rely on for business… that’s located at the Singapore Art Museum and in a neighborhood where people are only going to come when it’s pleasant weather.  So weekends like this one where it has rained nonstop kill the business. (Sad face)

This week is the trifecta – I’m sitting here at home on a Sunday night, listening to the sound of the rain while writing all the paychecks to hand out tomorrow before we close for the long Chinese New Year holiday.

I hope I get ang baos!

Facebook Ad

I was thinking about growing the number of fans on the Standing Sushi Bar Facebook page. There were a few campaigns in my head, some ideas to encourage folks to share the Facebook page with their friends… but then I decided to try out a low-effort way first: pay for a Facebook ad.

I had done this before with what I considered reasonable success. Ran a Facebook ad for a period of 3 weeks which resulted in the fan page growing from around 400 fans to 1,100. I was very targeted with the keywords and demographics so didn’t reach out to many people (whether this is good or bad I have not decided yet). That ad was more than a year ago.

This time the Facebook fan page had 1,457 fans.  In a 48 hour span the ad has resulted in 78 new fans, averaging a cost per click of 20 cents (USD) and cost per new fan of 49 cents (USD). Seems a little high – I suppose that’s partly from being less stringent with keywords so that I catch a broader market which may result in more people clicking the ad but not “liking” the page.

I’m curious what running an ad on one of the major search engines would be like.

In other news, I’m drinking a whisky.

Intern

I’m thinking about finding an intern. There have been a lot of ideas rattling around in my head and I’d like to make headway on them. Thoughts on how to improve customer experience at the sushi bar, ways to increase awareness (most important at the moment), and starting a whole new branch of a menu. As a one-man operation on the administrative and office side, the paperwork is piling up and there’s little time left to push the business forward.

Anyway, before I actually try to find an intern I wanted to talk about the idea of an internship. It seems in Singapore, companies treat interns quite poorly – viewed more as a source of free labor with little thought given to the training and education aspect that is supposed to accompany an internship. After all, in return for low or no pay, the intern receives hands-on experience and guidance. What I’ve observed is that companies bring on interns, have them do the grunt work and then chuck ‘em out once the internship period is over.

When I was working at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, we had a solid internship program. What I found interesting was that after a summer internship, the intern was supposed to be proficient enough to pass a job interview for a full-time position at the company. If the intern wasn’t able to pass the interview, it was the intern’s mentor (the full-time employee) that would receive a blemish on their record (like not being able to have an intern for a couple years or not be considered for a management role).  This drove the behavior of really coaching and guiding the intern.

So before I start searching for an intern I want to make sure that I’m prepared to provide an experience that’s great for the intern as well as for the business.

Menu

For someone who considers themselves tech-savvy, I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to put our menu on the web. I guess I gravitate towards wanting to do more interactive updates – so writing blog entries, twitter messages, or even Facebook posts provide an opportunity to hear from people. Updating the website is one-way communication.

But it’s definitely useful information to share!

Our menu for the 3 locations

(Note – I didn’t say the posting of the menu would be pretty!)

Come one, come all, promotions everywhere!

Hi everyone! Thank you for your support of Standing Sushi Bar. Your love of sushi has led to SSB spreading the joy of sushi into new neighborhoods – 8 Queen Street and Marina Bay Link Mall.

The three locations offer very different experiences. While brand experts may consider this topsy-turvy, I think it’s nice that we make it special for the community we’re in.

Come check out our locations! We have promotions going on so everyone can trip the sushi fantastic.

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Standing Sushi Bar at Marina Bay Link Mall
(8A Marina Boulevard, B2-51)
+65 6634 7068

1 for 1 salmon nigiri, maki, temaki, and sashimi from
6pm – 9pm M-F and lunch & dinner on Sat & Sun
Not applicable for takeaway orders

20 SGD free-flow Asahi draft beer from 5pm – 7pm Mon – Fri.

Located within Singapore’s brand new Marina Bay Financial Centre

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Standing Sushi Bar 8QSAM
(Flagship location – 8 Queen Street)  +65 6333 1335

With 3 lunch sets, get an additional set free – available during lunch daily
(not applicable to student lunch sets or takeaway orders)

1 for 1 Asahi draft beer from 5pm – 7pm Mon – Fri

SSB is located within the Contemporary Art Museum.  Friday night is free entry to the museum, which is currently housing the Trans-Cool TOKYO exhibition. Check out the exhibition, enjoy SSB afterwards!

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Standing Sushi Bar at One Raffles Place (the original - 1 Raffles Place) 
+65 6533 7078

1 for 1 salmon nigiri, maki, temaki, and donburi on Saturdays

Stand, eat, enjoy!

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The promotions will be ongoing until December 31, 2010.

It’s go time

Marketing and promotion is an area that I haven’t spent much time on. Since the beginning of Standing Sushi Bar (a little over a year ago), I’ve been focused on daily operations and simply learning about the F&B industry. Having the first branch in Raffles Place meant that I didn’t have to do too much outreach – there are so many people in the area that promotions didn’t have to span far.

The 8QSAM branch is in a radically different situation. While I love the Bras Basah neighborhood (I’m a long-time resident), there are lots of people who have no idea this area exists… even though it’s just a couple blocks from City Hall MRT! For the past few years it seemed like a no-man’s land. While it was a central location there was nothing that drew a critical mass of people.

Earlier this year I noticed a lot more activity – the old Catholic High building underwent renovation and has become an arts & dance enclave, the Food for Thought café (hi neighbor!) opened up at 8QSAM, and Bras Basah MRT station began operating. CNNGO talks about the transformation of the area.

I feel SSB at 8Q has opened up as the neighborhood is on the cusp of becoming a destination location.

On the cusp, full of potential, etc. – all great… but potential and the future do not count for nuts when it comes to the present.

Standing Sushi Bar also opened (2 weeks ago) at Marina Bay Link Mall. Great location, again full of potential. When the office towers are complete and everyone has moved in, there are supposed to be more workers there than Suntec City. That’s a huge, captive lunch crowd waiting to be fed good sushi!

But… people are just beginning to move into Marina Bay Financial Centre. Essentially it’s a bunch of empty futuristic-looking glass skyscrapers waiting for the thrum of human activity to commence.

Now that these branches are open, it’s time to shift gears and think about how to spread the word of Standing Sushi Bar. Promote! Promote! Promote!  I have to get into that mindset.

1 for 1 salmon sushi Saturday at One Raffles Place

I feel like a bad parent. With the opening of Standing Sushi Bar at 8 Queen Street and Marina Bay Link Mall, I can hear our OUB Centre (now christened One Raffles Place) branch saying, “Hey! Over here! I miss you!”

To show a little love for the original location, we’re having a 1 for 1 salmon promotion on Saturdays.

1 for 1 on the following salmon items:

  • Salmon nigiri / salmon belly nigiri
  • Salmon maki / salmon belly maki
  • Salmon temaki / salmon belly temaki
  • Salmon donburi / salmon belly donburi
  • Salmon skin donburi

Standing Sushi Bar
1 Raffles Place
B2-02B One Raffles Place
Singapore 048616
Ph: +65 6533 7078

Open Mon – Fri 11:30 AM – 9:00 PM, Saturday 11:30 AM – 4:00 PM

If this goes well then I’ll see if we can do it at the other branches too. Everyone loves salmon, after all!