Posts filed under ‘Marketing’

Join our mailing list!

You know how there is something that you know you should do but you just never get around to doing it?  For me, creating a mailing list is one of those things.

With a location in Raffles Place, there’s high foot traffic and a strong likelihood of people dropping their name card into a fishbowl for me to add to the list.

With a mailing list I can contact interested diners directly and not rely on the whims of the Facebook notification system to provide updates.

But for whatever reason, I never got around to creating a mailing list.

Until now!

So please do sign up to receive updates about special offers, promotions, events and other related information.  If you have suggestions on what else you’d like to see, let me know!

Subscribe to The Sushi Times now!

August 8, 2011 at 6:30 am 1 comment

It pays to be kind

I admit I’m addicted to the Singapore Seen section on Stomp. While they bill it as a lofty site for citizen journalism, it has turned into a portal showing the ugly side of us all living together on this tiny island.

Public transportation woes, maid troubles, anti-foreigner diatribes, aaaggghhh!

Is this country really debating whether an able-bodied person should let an elderly or pregnant commuter take the priority seat on public transportation?  Isn’t the answer obviously “OF COURSE?”

The government has run campaigns to encourage kindness and graciousness. I’m not sure what the results have been, but it seems many folks are motivated to take action only if there is a concrete payoff.

So us here at Standing Sushi Bar are taking our sushi sensibilities and wading into the teeming, seething mass that is the Singapore public.  Our goal?  Encourage people to be kind – it will make Singapore more pleasant for all!

Do good with Standing Sushi Bar

We’re sending our ninjas out across the streets, trains, and buses of Singapore.  Armed with these kindness cards, if they see you doing something nice then you get free sushi!  Give up your seat on the MRT, hold the elevator door open, pick up some litter… no act of kindness is too small.

At Standing Sushi Bar, it pays to be kind.

July 6, 2011 at 6:53 am Leave a comment

Facebook Ad

I was thinking about growing the number of fans on the Standing Sushi Bar Facebook page. There were a few campaigns in my head, some ideas to encourage folks to share the Facebook page with their friends… but then I decided to try out a low-effort way first: pay for a Facebook ad.

I had done this before with what I considered reasonable success. Ran a Facebook ad for a period of 3 weeks which resulted in the fan page growing from around 400 fans to 1,100. I was very targeted with the keywords and demographics so didn’t reach out to many people (whether this is good or bad I have not decided yet). That ad was more than a year ago.

This time the Facebook fan page had 1,457 fans.  In a 48 hour span the ad has resulted in 78 new fans, averaging a cost per click of 20 cents (USD) and cost per new fan of 49 cents (USD). Seems a little high – I suppose that’s partly from being less stringent with keywords so that I catch a broader market which may result in more people clicking the ad but not “liking” the page.

I’m curious what running an ad on one of the major search engines would be like.

In other news, I’m drinking a whisky.

January 21, 2011 at 12:15 am Leave a comment

Intern

I’m thinking about finding an intern. There have been a lot of ideas rattling around in my head and I’d like to make headway on them. Thoughts on how to improve customer experience at the sushi bar, ways to increase awareness (most important at the moment), and starting a whole new branch of a menu. As a one-man operation on the administrative and office side, the paperwork is piling up and there’s little time left to push the business forward.

Anyway, before I actually try to find an intern I wanted to talk about the idea of an internship. It seems in Singapore, companies treat interns quite poorly – viewed more as a source of free labor with little thought given to the training and education aspect that is supposed to accompany an internship. After all, in return for low or no pay, the intern receives hands-on experience and guidance. What I’ve observed is that companies bring on interns, have them do the grunt work and then chuck ‘em out once the internship period is over.

When I was working at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, we had a solid internship program. What I found interesting was that after a summer internship, the intern was supposed to be proficient enough to pass a job interview for a full-time position at the company. If the intern wasn’t able to pass the interview, it was the intern’s mentor (the full-time employee) that would receive a blemish on their record (like not being able to have an intern for a couple years or not be considered for a management role).  This drove the behavior of really coaching and guiding the intern.

So before I start searching for an intern I want to make sure that I’m prepared to provide an experience that’s great for the intern as well as for the business.

December 9, 2010 at 9:51 pm 3 comments

It’s go time

Marketing and promotion is an area that I haven’t spent much time on. Since the beginning of Standing Sushi Bar (a little over a year ago), I’ve been focused on daily operations and simply learning about the F&B industry. Having the first branch in Raffles Place meant that I didn’t have to do too much outreach – there are so many people in the area that promotions didn’t have to span far.

The 8QSAM branch is in a radically different situation. While I love the Bras Basah neighborhood (I’m a long-time resident), there are lots of people who have no idea this area exists… even though it’s just a couple blocks from City Hall MRT! For the past few years it seemed like a no-man’s land. While it was a central location there was nothing that drew a critical mass of people.

Earlier this year I noticed a lot more activity – the old Catholic High building underwent renovation and has become an arts & dance enclave, the Food for Thought café (hi neighbor!) opened up at 8QSAM, and Bras Basah MRT station began operating. CNNGO talks about the transformation of the area.

I feel SSB at 8Q has opened up as the neighborhood is on the cusp of becoming a destination location.

On the cusp, full of potential, etc. – all great… but potential and the future do not count for nuts when it comes to the present.

Standing Sushi Bar also opened (2 weeks ago) at Marina Bay Link Mall. Great location, again full of potential. When the office towers are complete and everyone has moved in, there are supposed to be more workers there than Suntec City. That’s a huge, captive lunch crowd waiting to be fed good sushi!

But… people are just beginning to move into Marina Bay Financial Centre. Essentially it’s a bunch of empty futuristic-looking glass skyscrapers waiting for the thrum of human activity to commence.

Now that these branches are open, it’s time to shift gears and think about how to spread the word of Standing Sushi Bar. Promote! Promote! Promote!  I have to get into that mindset.

November 23, 2010 at 3:11 am Leave a comment

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?

June 28, 2010 at 1:45 am 3 comments

The Fall of the Wall Promotion!

Berlin Wall

The Fall of the Wall
Promotion! Three days only!
Berlin Wall Sushi!

In 1989 the Berlin Wall came tumbling down. It was a spirited victory for freedom and gave hope for a better tomorrow.

In 2009 Standing Sushi Bar’s wall was knocked to the ground, leading to a one day closure and the sadness of great sashimi being destroyed.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reconstruction of Standing Sushi Bar’s wall, we are introducing (for 3 days only)…

THE BERLIN WALL ROLL

Come enjoy a sushi roll made with bratwurst, rice, lettuce, and sesame mustard!  9.80 SGD.  Available November 12 – 14.

While you’re here, why not drink a little beer and sake while celebrating the triumph of freedom and the fall of Communism?

WE ARE OPEN AGAIN! (November 12)

November 11, 2009 at 7:22 pm 1 comment

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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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