Archive for June, 2010

Check-in and review

It has been awhile since I’ve updated. Travels to Taiwan, Japan, the US, and elsewhere have left me feeling loopy and while I wish I was one of those people that can be productive on the road, I’m the type to watch movies for the whole flight.

The sushi bar is going through exciting times. More about that later. I wanted to do a “status report” for myself. Currently in my main corporate job, we’re going through the annual review process.  Since Standing Sushi Bar has been open since August 19, I thought it’d be fitting to review what has happened.

I don’t think I made a list of goals (at least not on paper) when the restaurant first opened, so these are just areas I’m thinking about at the moment.

Customer Interaction

My idea was to create a sushi bar where the diners and the chefs get to know each other.  This would lead to personalized sushi (i.e. the chef knows if you prefer less rice, enjoy a certain fish, etc.) and an opportunity for the diner to learn about new types of sushi based on recommendations from the chef or staff.

Grade: B
For the folks that dine regularly and speak with Roy, the interaction and experience is great. We could do a better job at connecting with the first-time customers and the lunch crowd.  The latter is difficult because it’s fast-paced and noisy but there are certainly opportunities.

Food Quality / Reputation

Sushi is a mainstream, popular dish in Singapore. However the quality range is limited. You either get the conveyor belt sushi which is priced cheap or for consistently high quality you have to pay a bomb at the top restaurants. I felt there was opportunity to offer the high-quality sushi at prices closer to those of the conveyor belt sushi chains – making up the cost difference with the volume of Raffles Place.

Grade: A
In the F&B industry there’s a notion that goes, “If only 1 out of 10 customers complain, you’re doing a fantastic job.” Thank goodness our complaints are less than that since I have a meltdown when I receive one. I put on my Sherlock Holmes cap and start grilling the team about what may have happened. Handling complaints in that manner isn’t productive.

I’m glad that our compliments far outnumber complaints. I’m also happy that the food reviews (8 Days, New Paper, My Paper, etc.) were positive.  I also think the community votes for Top 10 Sushi and Top 10 Sashimi on Hungrygowhere are also a testament to Standing Sushi Bar’s quality.

Service

I wanted a casual, friendly, welcoming place – and the service team play a big part of that.  This might sound like one of the most-obvious statements ever but guess what, good service is hard!

Grade: C+
There are two issues.  One – we’re frequently understaffed. I think there was one week when we were at full strength. Ah, what glorious short-lived relief. The bigger issue is #2 – minimal training program. I think the folks working at Standing Sushi Bar are great, but basically I’ve been relying on their initiative and thinking to handle service issues.  That’s generally fine but providing training and coaching would make our service even better. Further training on the menu items, specific points of service, etc.

Outreach / Marketing / Awareness

Basically – has the target customer base heard about Standing Sushi Bar and do they think about the restaurant in a positive way?

Grade: B-
I’ve done what I’m comfortable with and enjoy – using the internet. We’ve got our Facebook fan page, Twitter account, website, and this blog. That has definitely resulted in general awareness about the restaurant and has been a great channel for feedback and interaction.

But is it really hitting the eyeballs of the target customer base? Remember – Standing Sushi Bar sits in the heart of Raffles Place.  Our bread and butter diner is the PMEB working in the nearby vicinity (within 2 square blocks), of which a good amount are lawyers and finance industry types. Many of whom are barred from using social networking websites in their office.

There’s definitely room for improvement. Flyer distribution, targeted promotions, partnerships with other commercial entities that hit the right customer base… those are a few things I can think of off the top of my head.

The jet lag is kicking in now and my head is going foggy, so that’s all for today! Anyone have suggestions on other categories to review the restaurant on?

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June 28, 2010 at 1:45 am 3 comments


Standing Sushi Bar

Join us at our branches in Singapore's fast-paced Raffles Place business district or unwind in our flagship branch located in the Bras Basah Arts & Historic neighborhood. High-quality, healthy, affordable dining. Open at Marina Bay Link Mall and 8 Queen Street!


eat@standingsushibar.com

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