Posts filed under ‘Store’
During opening week it was a pleasant surprise to get various “Congratulations!” bouquets and messages. I’d be standing in the restaurant and all of a sudden flowers would show up. This must be what a girl being wooed feels like.
Bright yellow flowers, roses, trumpet-looking petals, all kinds of floral arrangements! One of the bouquets even had apples.
Earlier this week, one of the most bizarre opening day presents showed up. Courtesy of “Shantika Industries.”
I have to applaud Shan and Tika for their creativity.
Speaking of Shan, here he is at Standing Sushi Bar along with Shane (one of his repeat visits).
The restaurant has been open a week now. After I get some sleep I’d like to write down my thoughts on how it went. Let’s just say I am 3 kg lighter now.
Everyone, eat sushi!
It has been a hectic couple days. I’m about to head to SSB for Day 3 but was just browsing through some of the pictures from our opening day.
Coral and I. She’s been an instrumental part in all of this… from early February when we were watching TV and she asked me, “Whatever happened to your sushi bar idea? Maybe you should look for available spaces again.” Now she’s the manager!
Sakae Sushi is across the hall from us. I chatted with their manager, Doreen, and took her on a tour of Standing Sushi Bar. We have stuff they don’t have, they have stuff we don’t have. We shall do customer exchange and make OUB Centre the new sushi haven!
Rayne is camera shy. I had to snap this one when he turned his head back. He was probably thinking, “As the owner, do you want to take my picture or do you want me to prepare the fish so that we can actually have something for the customers to eat?”
A few of our lovely staff: Nicolette, Taryn, and Charlene. Don’t they just want to make you smile? I have no idea why but every time I say anything to Charlene, she bursts out laughing. Even if it’s along the lines of, “One of you has to play dishwasher for the day since our machine isn’t usable yet.” On a sidenote, Nicolette, Taryn, Roy and Coral have tattoos. This was apparently an unspoken job requirement I was looking for.
Our crew went out to pass out some flyers 30 minutes before opening. This nice young lady got one of the flyers, said she wanted some lunch, and asked if she could eat now. So yes… our first customer was 10 minutes before official opening time. That is a good sign! Thank you Elizabeth for being the first brave soul to eat at Standing Sushi Bar! (though technically I think she got customized take-away so she didn’t eat it there…)
Look at how relaxed people are while they are standing and eating. (on a sidenote, I was looking at the line of people outside Sakae yesterday and thinking to myself that the amount of time they’re standing in line to wait to get a seat, they could be standing and eating already…)
And that, friends and neighbors, was day 1.
Just because I’m in the US doesn’t mean more sushi haikus aren’t going up on the hoardings! Well, that is if the manager Coral is putting them up. We had a temporary National Day sushi appreciation poster.
Pink marbled tuna
Sunshine orange ikura
Pearl white hamachi
Come, taste our sake
Shimmery pink salmon or
A glass of rice wine
At night I drink beer
Sake, shochu, yuzu too
And enjoy sushi
What else can be more
Than sushi, my friend
Every day I stand
Dreaming of sushi rainbows
Fed on rice and fish
Body like green fields and streams
Slender as a reed
And here’s a random photo of salmon nigiri…
Construction is moving along nicely!
Black glass for menuboards. Sushi bar has a bottom-lit glass front. Curved secondary ceiling – need to scrounge up 40+ sake bottles to place there.
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
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.
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.
After a trip to Japan in April 2008, I started thinking about bringing the standing sushi bar concept to Singapore. I felt it was an idea that would work well in the Raffles Place area, specifically in the 3 square blocks near One Marina Boulevard. Aside from Sakae Sushi, there was a lack of nearby sushi joints.
The economic gloom and doom had not arrived yet. I hired a friend (hi Milene!) to help me with initial research on what it would take to open a sushi bar in Singapore and also to help find an available location. No suitable location was found. We tried Robinson Road, Market Street, OUB Centre, Republic Plaza, the Sail (still under construction), One Raffles Quay, and a few other nearby buildings. I felt it was vital to have the right location. If this concept were located at Orchard Road, Dempsey, or Bugis I think we’d have an immediate fail.
While some may call it idiotic, I felt one of the ideal spots would be inside OUB Centre, where Sakae Sushi is located. My reasoning was that people in Raffles Place know OUB Centre is the place to get sushi, so if they come they will see Standing Sushi Bar. Additionally they can see the contrast between my place and Sakae.
Well, without an available location I put the standing sushi bar idea on the back burner and resumed regular life. In February I was complaining about not having any good sushi to eat for lunch and started thinking about how the economic situation had changed – it was time to search again!
It was very different. Many storefronts were available, and I found myself at OUB Centre looking at a spot in their new food court (where Burger King used to be). Connected to the MRT station, underground, easy access, and full of human traffic. Perfect! Except that the unit I was looking at was upwards of 1,300 square feet which would have forced me to change the concept dramatically. And the OUB Centre staff wanted it open in 1 month. Part of me was ecstatic – so much space! First shopfront when someone walks in from the MRT! But… after I found myself seriously contemplating taking it, I came to my senses and realized that trying to open a restaurant within 1 month with almost no experience would be suicidal.
Which takes me back to Sakae. The OUB Centre marketing manager mentioned she had a different, smaller unit. Where was it? Directly across from Sakae Sushi. “Yep, I’ll take it!”