We opened some doors

A few more months have flown by and it's brought a raft of openings for us! For our Japanese-influenced salad bar, Shinkansen, we opened in two more locations: United Square in Novena and 100 AM mall in Tanjong Pagar. Since Shinkansen is a new concept for us, I felt that the faster we could put it in front of people, the quicker we would gain market recognition. The salad and healthy food area is a tough battleground though! I need to be clearer with what Shinkansen offers (create-your-own salad, rice, quinoa, or soba bowls using a mixture of Japanese and Western ingredients).

Japanese salad bar Shinkansen at 100 AM in Singapore's Tanjong Pagar. Additional locations in Raffles Place and Novena.

On October 13 we also opened another branch of Standing Sushi Bar. It's located at Income @ Raffles, which is the building formerly known as Hitachi Tower. I suppose one could view it as a return to Raffles Place as the first branch of Standing Sushi Bar was at One Raffles Place (formerly known as OUB Centre... I guess with all the development there's lots of 'formerly known' places). The new SSB is located at:

16 Collyer Quay
02-02 Income at Raffles
Singapore 049318

It's the first time I've used a designer for Standing Sushi Bar, and it definitely looks better than the other branches. I suppose my background in information technology and Microsoft Excel didn't translate into gorgeous restaurants! So it's definitely great that Wynk Collaborative applied their design chops to SSB. (See their site for more photos of the new Standing Sushi Bar).

Standing Sushi Bar at Income at Raffles. Located right by Raffles Place MRT.

Now that these places have opened, it's time to buckle down and commence the real work! We need to make sure that people are aware we exist and when they come that they will have a delicious and positive experience. For the latest Standing Sushi Bar, we're making it more of an izakaya and bar at night with a few Japanese cocktails, a good selection of sake, shochu, and umeshu, and also Japanese craft beer and $5 Asahi to wet your whistle. Food-wise we have a big menu of $5 bites at night and also will be introducing an awesome omakase soon.

I'll have to dedicate a different entry for the new Standing Sushi Bar!

So how is that Monday promotion working out?

We have run the 2 SGD Monday promotion for 2 weeks now, and for those of you who come to this blog to see a little “behind the scenes” action, I figured I would let you know how the promotion is going and why I decided to hold it.

It’s no secret in the food and beverage industry that the first half of the week is notoriously slow.  At 8 Queen Street our Monday lunches tend to be popular but dinner is quiet.  I’ve been thinking about how to convince people to come to the restaurant on a Monday night, increase the awareness of Standing Sushi Bar, and spur some of the alcohol sales.

For awhile I was fixated on the idea of 1 SGD oysters.  Personally I love raw oysters and I’ve been to a couple restaurants (notably Cocotte and Seafood Paradise at the Flyer) that were running 1 SGD oyster promotions to draw in a crowd.

Alas I wasn’t able to find an oyster supplier that made it feasible to offer 1 SGD oysters.  Now I realize why these other restaurants had strict rules and only a limited time for the promotion.  At a buck an oyster the loss per oyster is pretty high.

Oh, in case you’re not sure why a restaurant would have such a promotion it’s to get people in the door and then make up for the loss on the promotional item by encouraging the customers to order other non-promotion items.

I shouldn’t have fixated so much on oysters and it was an obvious face-slap moment when I realized that instead of looking for oysters why not just use one of our existing items for the promotion? I thought about which item; admittedly I was a little worried about using salmon sashimi since it’s one of our most popular items, why offer it at such a promotional price?

I decided that instead of being tentative, we should dive in and really aim for giving the customer what they would want.  I tried to put myself in the customer mindset – would 2 dollar salmon sashimi and 1 dollar sake be something I would make a trip for?  Yes!  (Sidenote – I think it’s getting harder and harder to view things through the lens of the customer versus that of a restaurant owner).

To the results!  Definitely exceeded my expectations… of course we’ve only had two Mondays with the promotion so far so we’ll see how it evolves, but currently it’s boosted the sales by 55% compared to the average of previous Mondays.  Guest feedback has been positive, so all in all I think this has worked out well.

Now to brainstorm what we should offer on Tuesdays…

Delivery contact

Standing Sushi Bar at Marina Bay Link Mall is a little over a year old now.  Every day I wake up and think how we should have a delivery service.  Based on other restaurants in the Raffles Place area, the folks there are telling me that could add 25% to my daily sales.

Unfortunately it’s easier said than done getting a delivery service set up.  Manpower is the biggest issue – I need more chefs to handle the pre-packaged takeaway preparation as well as the additional delivery orders.  I also need staff to act as delivery runners.

Of course I have to build a delivery website as well.  Calling to order delivery isn’t feasible as during the lunch rush it’s noisy and all the service staff are engaged with the diners in the restaurant.

I’m looking to “outsource” the delivery runner position.  Does anyone have a contact which would provide the delivery staff to me in exchange for 20% of the selling price?  That seems to be an easier way to start the delivery service.  I know there are companies like roomservicedeliveries and other delivery aggregators but they take 30% of the sale and add all kinds of surcharges to the customer.