Archive for May, 2009
Today I met with a supplier from CTL Solutions PTE Ltd.
Their tagline: “For all your alternative packaging needs.”
It was an informative meeting. I looked through a few samples, discussed other items they could create, and talked about the importance of finding proper take-away / carry-out packaging.
I learned a lot about plastic and paper packaging today. Granted my knowledge on the subject was near zero prior to this meeting, but who would have expected such an interesting coffee session?
Most of the take-away sushi containers I’ve seen are flimsy and crumple when you squeeze too hard. I worry that unless the container is stapled the food will spill while I carry it home. That experience affects my impression of the whole restaurant.
That led me to think about how Standing Sushi Bar will approach packaging:
- Thick, solid material – no flimsiness! If people want to hand-carry it, stuff it in a bag, or knock it around I want to ensure that the contents don’t spill out.
- Vehicle for awareness – the logo should be on the box and on the bag. Perhaps one day people will prize my logoed bags like they do a purse that says Gucci on it.
- Clear top, colored bottom – I’ve decided against paper containers because you can’t see the contents. With a clear plastic top you can see the type of sushi inside. It’s important that people can look at the pre-packaged take-away sushi and feel confident that it is high-quality and value-for-money. With a dark green or black bottom, that will contrast nicely with the color of the fish and rice regardless what surface the container is put on.
I hadn’t thought about the bags we would need to provide to take-away customers until today’s discussion with the CTL rep. I hope we have many repeat customers; I am toying with providing linen bags for frequent diners and providing a discount on the food when they reuse the bag on subsequent visits. While producing the bags might be costly, they are eco-friendly, the customer can re-use them (not just for sushi), they look nice, and the bags would be seen enough to increase brand awareness.
Never think about packaging before? Try it now and see if we’ve missed anything major on how it relates to the restaurant!
Oh, golden rule – the packaging shouldn’t cost more than the food. (The representative kept emphasizing this after I went off on a tangent thinking of what kind of custom-design packaging I could create).
Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?
Ben: Yes I will.
Mr. McGuire: Shh! Enough said. That’s a deal.
A little under two months away from the opening of Standing Sushi Bar.
It’s time to take stock of the progress made. My gut feel is that I should be much further along, but hey, like anything else in life it’s time pressure that will force things to get done!
Chef: Main chef hired. At least 2 other full-time chefs needed. Anyone have any recommendations? One of them needs to be able to take a whole fish and transform it into the wonder that becomes sushi.
Front-of-House Staff: Manager hired. Need at least 3 more wait staff / cashier folks.
Menu: Near final. Complete enough to determine what equipment is needed. Tofurkey did not make the cut.
Restaurant & Kitchen layout: Concept and draft is finished. Need to meet with contractors and get their input on what is realistic.
Interior design: Still reviewing ideas. Waaaaaaay behind.
Logo: Thank you for all the input on the logo! I think I’m going to wait to see what our interior will look like and also finalize the ambience we are going for before revisiting the logo design.
Suppliers: In touch with a few fish and vegetable suppliers.
Kitchen equipment: Have done pricing and know where I will buy the majority of the equipment from.
Marketing plan: Say what? This place will sell itself! Ok, just kidding. I’ve got tentative roll-out plans and campaigns. However I do believe the concept and location require less marketing than a “destination” restaurant located outside of the central business district.
We take a break from regularly scheduled programming to present Hairy Sushi:
The designer has gotten back to me with an assortment of draft logos.
Do any of these look better than the original one? Which do you prefer? Do you have a totally different idea?
Various articles about starting your own business talk about how one needs to have healthy skepticism when faced with critics and naysayers.
This is ridiculously simple. Instead there should be articles about how to rein in one’s positivity and listen to criticism.
When I talk about the standing sushi bar, I get excited and feel it will be a resounding success. It’s easy for me to hear negative comments and dismiss them, thinking to myself, “They don’t understand the concept” or “they don’t have experience in this area.”
The sad reality is the majority of small businesses shut down within 3 years. And if they’re not going bust, they’re scraping by with minimal profit that is not worth the time and investment.
A taste of what’s to come?
“Two highly educated professionals with artistic aspirations have just put themselves—or, as we saw it, each other—on $8-per-hour jobs slinging coffee.”
(Standing Sushi Bar is going to be a huge success!!! Totally different concept than a friendly neighborhood coffee joint!)