Archive for April, 2010
Salmon is by far the most popular fish at Standing Sushi Bar.
We get our salmon from Norway. The shutdown of European airspace the last two weeks wreaked havoc with our salmon supply. Last week we tried out a different supplier and based on customer feedback and my opinion, I decided that the salmon didn’t meet the restaurant’s standards.
So this week we have no salmon until Thursday.
The impact of this decision is slugging me in the wallet. Most of our takeaway sets were centered around salmon and our dine-in customers ordered salmon furiously. Since we don’t have the fish, our takeaway and dine-in sales have plummeted.
I’ve made the decision already on the salmon so this is an academic exercise:
Should we have continued offering salmon from a different supplier? Trade-off of short-term gain (money / sales) versus long-term (reputation / quality).
It’s 6 in the morning. I’d like to say that I’m getting a head start to this Monday but instead I’m in the grip of insomnia and haven’t been able to fall asleep. I guess my mind really didn’t want this Sunday to end.
I was thinking about many folks’ perception of small business, particularly restaurants. Similar to the line, “Build it and they will come,” (thank you Field of Dreams for introducing the phrase to society), there’s a feeling that as long as you have strong foot traffic around you, diners will step in and eat.
Recently there has been a lot of change in the level of OUB Centre that Standing Sushi Bar is located. A couple new eateries have opened up and a few places have shut down. The contrast between Fresh Fields and Barcook Bakery couldn’t be more different. Fresh Fields was located right next to our restaurant. Barcook Bakery is directly opposite us.
Fresh Fields is a tragic small business story. Its owner, a retired Japanese professor, came to Singapore with the idea of opening an organic vegetable restaurant. He brought along a Japanese chef and together they searched for two years to find a suitable location. Spending power, high foot traffic, and the type of people that would value the difference between organic & regular food must have topped his list for criteria.
They opened and for the first two weeks I think they literally only had ten customers. Their shop unit was greater than 1,000 square feet – I can only imagine the astronomical rent they were paying. Likely they needed at least 2,000 SGD worth of sales each day simply to cover rent expenses.
After a month the owner gave up. Sure, the shop was still open but he was spending his time finding a new tenant and fulfilling the lease obligations stipulating he had to be open during business hours. Two months later the new tenant was secured; the owner closed shop and returned to Japan. I figure he lost half a million dollars in setup and operating costs.
Barcook Bakery opened a month ago. Since day one they have had nonstop queues. Literally. From 7 am until 7 pm Monday – Friday there is a line. It stretches down the hall, winds around itself, and has become a constant sight in the basement level. They sell a few different types of bread but people are queuing to try their Raisin Cream Cheese. It’s tasty stuff.
Two very different stories.
It was a weekend of celebration!
Happy one year anniversary to my favorite sake bar – Orihara Shouten.
And it was also our head chef Roy’s baby’s first month anniversary!