Archive for July, 2009
Endless days of work
Life on a conveyor belt
Sushi make me free
Bring girl eat sushi
Can be so very sexy
Smart lunch date or what
Find zen on a plate
Right from the chef master’s hands
All is good again
Office so busy
Lunch always in a hurry
Thank you for sushi
I wish I was talking about the interior of the restaurant. Instead, I’m referring to the construction hoarding that is covering the front of the shop while renovation goes on inside.
As a temporary effort, I printed out posters of the logo, the website, and the twitter address for Standing Sushi Bar. There’s still so much white space though!
Since the renovation will be taking a few weeks, it would be good to increase the profile of the restaurant and get key messages out to potential customers. There is a lot of foot traffic in that hallway, and most importantly, there are many sushi-eaters. Why are there sushi-eaters? Because Sakae Sushi, one of the few Raffles Place sushi joints, is diagonally across the hall from me.
Every day a line forms at Sakae… and while I don’t intend to compete directly with them, they are the primary competitor in the area.
While people wait to enter Sakae, I can use the construction hoarding to make them aware of Standing Sushi Bar and what my restaurant will offer.
To keep the wall ‘fresh’ I’m changing the posters every couple of days. Sushi haikus, trivia, quotes, and other writings to entertain the passer-bys.
Haha, and easy blog content – I’ll post the sushi haikus!
Relief. Renovation has started. It has been a terrible feeling knowing I’ve been paying rent for an empty concrete space.
When the shopfront was handed over to me, it looked like this:
Let’s hold our breaths for the end result!
Today’s start of renovations:
The wall that will separate the kitchen from the main dining area. Plaster and tiles will be placed over the bricks.
Pile of materials… I was so happy to see renovation had begun that I felt like I was on a playground, ready to grab clumps of dirt to build a sandcastle.
Douglas Coupland is one of my favorite authors. From Generation X:
“Everyone has a gripping stranger in their lives, Andy, a stranger who unwittingly possesses a bizarre hold over you. Maybe it’s the kid in cut-offs who mows your lawn or the woman wearing White Shoulders who stamps your book at the library – a stranger who, if you were to come home and find a message from them on your answering machine saying, "Drop everything. I love you. Come away with me now to Florida," you’d follow them.”
Who knows, maybe it’s someone you’ll stand next to at a sushi bar.
Huzzah! Standing Sushi Bar was mentioned in the Straits Times’ “Taste” section today in the ‘Food gets fresh ideas’ story. Thanks to the reporter, Rebecca Lynne Tan, for contacting me. On a sidenote, my friend Trina mentions that Rebecca is “hot.” (Alas I only spoke to her over the phone). Anyway, article below!
STANDING SUSHI BAR
What: It will be as the name suggests, a standing sushi bar
When: Early next month
Where: OUB Centre, B1-02B, 1 Raffles Place
Price: From $2 for a nigiri sushi
What to expect: The little 614 sq ft restaurant will boast a sushi counter with standing space for 15 to 20 people.
Geared towards the fast-paced environment of office workers in the CBD-area, the bar hopes to have a turnaround every 20 minutes or so.
You can expect made-to-order sushi by an experienced Japanese sushi chef throughout the day.
Tuck into California rolls, sashimi, nigri sushi, sushi rolls and items such as chirashi sushi, which will also be available for takeaway in the mornings.
Its owner, American-born Chinese and Singapore permanent resident Howard Lo, 32, a regional manager for online community support at a software giant, first thought of bringing the Japanese concept to Singapore in April last year.
But it was only in February this year that a piece of prime retail space in the busy basement of OUB Centre opened up.
He reckons a concept like this would work only in the Raffles Place area where professionals and executives desire quality food despite their busy schedules.
He has sunk in more than $200,000 to start this venture, which is slated to begin operations in the first week of next month.
Other upcoming restaurants highlighted in the article are Hatched (all-day breakfast), District 10 Bistro Wine Bar (apparently I’m not the only one who believes in straightforward names), and Mykii (a Belgian beer & dessert place).
Here is an example of an issue and additional cost that crops up in the planning of a restaurant.
- Sign rental agreement on a shop unit that can be used as a restaurant
- Confirm all types of cooking and equipment are allowed
- Order kitchen equipment
- Time passes
- Learn that no town gas is provided (i.e. what you would find at home – a connection supplied by the government gas company)
- Fine – we can use LPG (gas cylinder)
- Diagram and approval from some government agency needs to be submitted if we want to use gas cylinder
- Oh wait, contractor says we can’t put a gas cylinder in the shopfront – instead we’d have to put it on the roof and run a pipe from the roof into the shop… which is in the basement!
- Go back to kitchen equipment providers and ask to switch all equipment to electric
- Electric version of equipment is more than 4,000 SGD the cost of the original gas equipment
- Cry a little bit and move on to next problem
More costs – prior to the start of renovation I need to submit officially endorsed diagrams to OUB Centre. The cost of these endorsements / stamps? Currently running over 13,000 SGD. There’s no escaping this cost. Fire and safety, mechanical, electrical, etc. – all these sub-categories need to be reviewed by an ‘expert’ and stamped.
Cost of restaurant license: 120 SGD (so cheap! Everyone should own a restaurant!)
Cost of official approvals: > 13,000 SGD (and this doesn’t even come with french fries?)
Cost of interior design: growing
Cost of kitchen equipment: This is not your mommy’s microwave
Cost of insurance: Cheaper than you would expect. Good medical benefits for all my full-time employees!!!
Once the restaurant is up and operational I’ll go more in-depth about the various costs and money it took to start this.
Recently I attended an all-day food-hygiene course. Every food handler is required to complete this course. After the Geylang rojak disaster, the government has been getting stricter with its enforcement.
Generally, and thankfully, most of the information is common sense and serves as a reinforcement to what you know about food safety.
My instructor had a novel way of drilling the consequences into our head.
“What happens if you don’t maintain proper food hygiene? The public gets sick. Do you know who is a member of the public? Your family. If you don’t maintain food hygiene, YOUR GRANDMOTHER WILL DIE.”
This was the statement that concluded every section of the course.
At Standing Sushi Bar, we firmly believe in not killing grandmothers. So rest assured we will maintain top-notch food hygiene standards.
Quite a pleasure last week to open 8 Days magazine and read a preview of Standing Sushi Bar! I thought it was very cool (and a jolt of reality) that my little sushi place is in the pages of 8 Days. I read the magazine every week and look to their food section for new restaurants to try out, and now SSB is one of them!
“Ooh I need your love babe,
Guess you know it’s true.
Hope you need my love babe,
Just like I need you.
Hold me, love me, hold me, love me.
I ain’t got nothin’ but love babe,
Eight days a week.” – The Beatles… possibly singing about how new restaurants need support from local publications to get the word out!
Mock-up by the interior designer. Will change the wall on the left, add in light fixtures above the sushi counter and extend the shelves.
What do you think about the light wood? They also sent variations on a darker tone as well as black.