Hello dear little sushi blog. I feel like I’ve neglected you. What can I say, it has been busy times. We have been undergoing a lot of change at Standing Sushi Bar. New menus, new chefs, new ideas. Multiply it all times 2 since the two branches are essentially different restaurants.
I won’t sugarcoat; things are currently difficult. Just as the Marina Bay Link Mall branch was clawing its way to success, the flurry of recent news about Japan has affected it again. The 8 Queen Street location is still hurting from when the Japan incident first happened in March.
Since business is a little slow I have been thinking about how to bring in more customers, especially to the 8 Queen Street location. Two things I considered were price point and ease of getting the food. Certainly lowering the price should broaden the customer base and making the ordering process less intimidating should help. That was the reasoning behind the introduction of the sets during dinner and lowering the starting price to 13 SGD.
I’ve also been thinking about the awareness of the restaurant. Standing Sushi Bar has been in the news and major publications on a regular basis, so I feel like people have at least heard the name. However awareness of the name is very different from an understanding of what we offer and why a diner should come in. That is something I need to work on – hammering it into people’s minds that we have high-quality food at a very affordable price and one of the largest sake selections in Singapore.
One tiring yet interesting activity that I did recently was putting flyers on the door of every HDB flat in the Queen street area. Door-to-door walking, I felt like an MP making their rounds. I used to really dislike flyers but I have to admit that for reaching out to people directly around you, flyers are effective. And have you met the folks that potter around at home in the middle of a weekday? Quirky and welcoming. I was worried they would mistake me for a loan shark runner splashing paint on their door; I was surprised that some people would come to the door and take the flyer and then chat with me about the restaurant.
The next thing I want to focus on is getting the sake bar started. Currently people are in the dining section but the bar area is under-utilized. One issue is that we close early at 8 Queen Street; a drinking spot needs to be open later. Chicken & egg – if there is no one drinking at the bar, do I want to keep it open late? Or do I need to keep it open late in order to get people to start drinking at the bar?
Those appetizers above go quite well with sake, by the way!
Over at Marina Bay Link Mall we’re also revamping the menu, particularly for dinner. We need to add more cooked food… the tricky thing is that the open kitchen there is very small and we have to ensure that we don’t smoke out the restaurant.
Finally (thank you Li-En and Sufen who have helped brainstorm this) we are working on starting a delivery service for the Marina Bay Financial Centre, One Raffles Quay, and One Marina Boulevard buildings. Hopefully I can get that running soon.
June 22, 2011 at 6:10 am
Interesting guest post by Rocky Agrawal for TechCrunch with his thoughts on why GroupOn is poised for collapse.
“Imagine you’re a small business owner. You have to choose between two propositions:
- You can pay $62,500 for marketing. You’ll get a whole lot of customers coming through your door. No guarantees if they will ever come back, but they’ll come once.
- I’ll pay you $21,000. You get $7,000 in about 5 days, another $7,000 in 30 days and the remainder in 60 days. In exchange, you’ll give my customers cheap products for the next year.
I’ve been working on local for a long time and I know it’s hard to get small businesses to spend money on advertising. Really hard. Even getting $200 a month ($2,400 a year) is a high hurdle to meet.” – read the rest of his commentary
Hopefully (and if anyone cares, haha) when I get some more time I’ll write my thoughts and experience with GroupOn and the various daily deal sites. Singapore is saturated with them – over 20+ at my last count. There has got to be a shakeout happening soon… how many discounted spa deals do we really need flooding our inboxes?
June 14, 2011 at 12:58 pm