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!

Menu: Pictures or No Pictures?

We're in the midst of refreshing our menu at Standing Sushi Bar Queen Street.  Photos of all the items have been taken, pricing has been determined, and the main thing left to do is layout the menu and then print it.

We've been having a lot of discussions about whether or not the menu should contain pictures for every food item.  I vote against having pictures in menus.  In my opinion it makes a menu unwieldy because of the number of pages and it also looks cheesy and messy.  Of course the flip side of the argument is that people won't have to ask service crew as many questions as they can just assume that the item ordered will correspond with the photo.  Some people also believe that seeing pictures of the food make people hungrier or want to "eat with their eyes."

I've decided to forego pictures on our main menu this time for a few reasons, the primary one being speed (trying to adjust the layout with pictures meant starting over a bunch of times) and trying to make the overall presentation look "cleaner."  I also like the idea of having people be pleasantly surprised by ordering the food (in text) and being happy with the visual presentation of the food once it gets to their table.

What's your opinion?  Do you prefer pictures on a menu or you're fine without it?  Does it make a huge difference to you?  Why do you think Western restaurants get away without having pictures on the menu compared to Japanese restaurants?

Sushi and Japanese food delivery begins!

Ever since opening our branch at Marina Bay Link Mall I've wanted to do delivery.  However setting up an online ordering service coupled with the additional delivery staff proved difficult.  There were existing services that would do the delivery for us, but they took at least 30% of the sale and the implementation was somewhat clunky, so after previous experiences with them I decided to pass.

Finally we are able to start delivery!  Found a good, responsive partner in Hastify, so as of today we are now doing deliveries to folks in Marina Bay Financial Centre and once that's smooth we will expand to more buildings in Raffles Place (and then the world!!!).

Order online, get sushi delivered, and eat!

Order online, get sushi delivered, and eat!

Next time you're swamped in the office or don't feel like going out, simply go to
http://hastify.com/standing-sushi-bar/marina-bay
and we'll bring our Japanese food to you.  Sushi, sashimi, lunch sets, oh my! 

Beat the Clock at Marina Bay!

Recently an assistant / intern joined our team and it has been great having him help out on a myriad of tasks.  One of the things he came up with was the "Beat the Clock" promotion.  In order to stimulate a little appetite and drinking we have introduced this at our Marina Bay Link Mall branch.  So if you're hankering for some sake, beer, and snacks in the Raffles Place area, come down to Standing Sushi Bar Marina Bay Link Mall!

Beat the Clock snack menu at Marina Bay Link Mall. Onigiri, sushi, temaki, salmon skin, and more!

Tuesday - Friday from 6 PM - 8 PM we are offering our snack menu + a glass of sake for a price of whatever time it is you order.  So if it's 7:15 PM then it's 7.15 SGD for a glass of sake and the snack!  Add 3 SGD to it for an Asahi beer or Heineken too!

My personal favorite is the kawa ebi.  Deep-fried shrimp which goes really well with beer.

Scheduled Facebook Posts

Recently Facebook added the “Schedule Posts” feature to Facebook Pages.  There have been other social media management tools that would allow you to do it, but now it’s a native Facebook feature so every page admin can use it.

It’s great; now I can line up content for the week… such as when I was in Hong Kong this past weekend the little Facebook bot was putting up posts related to the Night Festival on the Standing Sushi Bar page.

It frees me from bookmarking information that I want to share later; in the past I would take a clip of information and put it in OneNote and hopefully remember that I wanted to post it on a specific date or time.  It was a manual, kludgy process.

Now if I find something interesting I can put it into Facebook immediately and have it publish later.  The feature also makes it easier to create a series of posts as part of a campaign or event.

So yay Facebook for adding it!

One thing that isn’t immediately apparent – you might want to view or edit which posts are scheduled for publishing.  To do that you go to the top of your Facebook page, where the Admin panel is, and click “Edit Page.”  It shows a dropdown with “Use Activity Log” as one of the choices.  Click that and it lists what posts are upcoming.

Scheduled post on Standing Sushi Bar page

Night Owl Sushi

I was out of town this weekend in Hong Kong so was sad to miss the first weekend of Singapore's Night Festival 2012.  Thankfully it will happen again on August 31 and September 1 so I'll get a chance to see all the exhibits.

Since the museum asked the restaurants to stay open until 2 AM, I thought it would be fun to try out a new menu item - the Night Owl sushi roll that contained Red Bull as its base ingredient.  I think it's the first-time anyone has made sushi with Red Bull... well, I couldn't find any other mention of it on the internet!

Over the past two days we had over thirty orders for the Night Owl sushi.  Looks like people are willing to give Red Bull-based food products a try!

We'll be running the same promotions again this coming weekend so if you're curious, come in for a visit!

Taipei Scouting

I’m sitting on a flight to Taipei while writing this after a sleepless night spent upgrading my laptop to Windows 8.  I guess there’s enough of a computer geek left in me that I felt compelled to install the latest operating system on my computer even though I knew it would likely cause a few issues that would keep me awake.  After all, one shouldn’t mess with the computer they’re about to take on a trip.  But yes, here I am typing happily (and tiredly) away on a PC running Windows 8 (the full version) and Office 2013 Preview.  I feel like standing up on the plane and announcing to people this momentous achievement yet I doubt anyone else will care.

Anyway, I’m off to Taiwan again and am looking forward to trying out a couple restaurants.  Whatever city I go to, I make it a point to check out what’s happening in the Japanese restaurant or raw bar scene.  In Taipei the Mitsui group (some big Japanese restaurant conglomerate) has transformed a fish market into something quite cool – it’s still a fish market for wholesalers but scattered amidst the market are various food stalls, including a raw bar and what looks to be an upscale standing sushi bar!  The restaurant is called Addiction Aquatic Development.  Taipei Times has a review of it.

(Now that I've landed and found internet connection, here are a few photos from when I went to the restaurant this afternoon - it was packed for 4:30 PM on a Sunday!  Guess the Taiwanese have no issues with standing and eating.  It makes me want to toss out all the chairs over at Marina Bay).

I’ve been on a raw oyster kick lately and after typing in the words “Taipei Oyster Bar” to Google, I didn’t get that many results back.  The main one seems to mention a place called, straightforwardly, Oyster Bar, located at the fancy schmancy Bella Vitta mall in the Xinyi area (near Taipei 101).  It seems like the restaurant is part of the food court, which is kind of an interesting place to be serving raw oysters.  Hopefully I won’t be too worn down from the flight and will navigate my way through the subway system to city hall station and find this oyster bar.

I wonder if suppliers are able to bring in oysters more easily (or at cheaper prices) to Taiwan than they are to Singapore.

Visit the Museum!

It's time to get a little culture!  The powers-that-be running the museums in Singapore have provided free entry to Singapore citizens and permanent residents during the month of August.  On certain days (August 24, 25, 31, and September 1) admission is free for everyone including tourists!

On those special August 24, 25, 31, and September 1 dates, the Night Festival will be going on.  The museums (including the Singapore Art Museum wing at 8 Queen Street) will be open until 2 AM.  We don't want to miss out on the fun so Standing Sushi Bar at 8 Queen Street will also be open until that late hour!

As part of the celebration we will be offering a special menu as well as some fun deals on sake ($4 for a biiiiiiig big glass) and more!  We've also created a special "Night Owl" sushi which will definitely be one-of-a-kind.  We figure people staying up that late are definitely a little edgy so we've come up with a sushi roll that contains Red Bull.  Ready to power you through until morning!

Night Owl sushi roll.  Contains a few special ingredients as well as Red Bull.  Only available for a limited time at Standing Sushi Bar 8 Queen Street

Night Watch exhibit (SAM at 8Q)

From past experience, the Night Festival brings out a ton of people, so reservations are recommended!  It's a great time, so get it on your calendar!