A tale of two eateries
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.
Entry filed under: Miscellaneous.