Hello everyone! It’s been awhile since I’ve written about what is going on with Standing Sushi Bar. Aside from the entries about various promotions and menus that we are trying out I feel like I haven’t gotten a chance to talk about the other things that are happening. I suppose a big reason for this is, like any small business, when the owner gets busy certain things go on hiatus.
On the personal front I left my career of 14 years – I used to be a… I don’t know, community manager, platform evangelist, software tester for Microsoft and now I’m focused on building my own business. I thought there would be a month of having a good break but surprisingly opportunities came a-knocking and I’m working on a few different projects. One of the hardest things is to focus! Too many ideas, too little discipline to handle them all, and too many video games still to be played.
The first branch in Indonesia (Standing Sushi Bar at La Piazza) opened on January 15. We’re in the midst of finding a location for the second branch. Exciting! It’s crazy to think of simply how much larger Indonesia (and Jakarta) is compared to the tiny confine of Singapore. Certainly a prime location in Jakarta would be awesome but there are so many cities that are underserved by Japanese restaurants that the potential is great. Factor in significantly lower costs for rent, wages, and setup and you can see why so many businesses are trying to move into the country.
I don’t know whether I can credit our Monday promotion, feng shui, or some random thing I did on the internet (bookings through Chope? Loyalty built through Perx?) but it’s as if folks have started stumbling into the 8 Queen Street restaurant. Business is up significantly (I hope this doesn’t jinx anything!) so that’s definitely great, especially after a hard 2011.
Maybe it’s cause I yelled at the air-conditioning people and finally got them to fix it? Hmm.
Over at Standing Sushi Bar Marina Bay Link Mall things have been chugging along nicely. We introduced new dinner sets and that has helped bring in more customers outside of the Raffles Place lunch hour crowd. I’ve been working on trying to get delivery started but it has been much harder than expected. Short of building a web ordering platform from the ground up, most of the solutions out there are tailored for the US market. There’s lots of room for growth over there (read: anything outside of lunch hours) and I’m excited about the upcoming opening of Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3… since it will bring in a ton of DBS Bank employees and it will be the biggest office tower in Singapore. On the flip side it is also going to bring in more competition with something like 11+ new restaurants, including a food court.
Grow, grow, grow! I’m looking for new spaces to open Standing Sushi Bar in Singapore (and if anyone wants to talk about other countries, I’m open to it!). I was keen on the upcoming UE Biz Hub but not keen enough to sign at the rent they wanted. I’m hesitant about the amount of office crowd at Changi Business Park that is willing to spend on lunch at a price point above $8. With the opening of the Changi City Point mall and the upcoming UE Biz Hub, I feel like there will be a glut of restaurants all competing for the same type of customer… which is fine for an area like Raffles Place but possibly not for Changi Business Park. It will be interesting to see how these malls evolve.
In a “spin-off” to Standing Sushi Bar (can you spin a restaurant off like a sitcom?) I’ve been working on a new food concept. I’ve almost settled on the first location for it, but since discussions with realtors and landlords can change at the drop of a hat, I can’t y where yet. I’m excited but also nervous about how fast this one is moving along.
May should be an interesting month!