As we move closer to the tail-end of 2020 (everyone’s annus horribilis), The Yak decided to meet some of the fearless few who have planned or opened new businesses in these tougher than tough times. Here we speak to Sean from The Forge and ShiShi.
Tell us your name, your business name, what industry it is in?
I’m Sean from ShiShi / The Forge. Food & Beverage and Nightlife.
What experiences or services does your brand offer?
ShiShi is a premium clubbing experience. We have three floors that ascend from the Asian Bistro to the Techno room and R&B on the rooftop.
The Forge is Bali’s first gastropub. We feature a selection of craft beers, fine cocktails and wines. The menu begins with all your classic pub favorites, has a list of deli sandwiches (the Cuban sandwich – seriously), burgers, steaks, pizza – all cooked to remind you what they tasted like back home.
When did you first start planning this business?
After the success of Los Gringos (will open again!), we wanted to create an upmarket venue that gave a premium clubbing experience beyond what was available in Bali.
Is your business open yet and if so what date did you open?
Yes, we opened late last year.
While everyone around you was laying-off workers and closing businesses what was it that made you keep going and continue the dream within the unfolding nightmare?
People. We employ over 300 people. They are our life blood and without the government assistance available in other countries, it was up to us to take the risk and keep as many people employed as possible.
So far, it’s worked well and we have a lot of grateful staff and happy customers who appreciate us battling through the daily challenges.
How long have you been in your chosen field of business?
As long as I can remember.
How many people do you employ?
Over 300 people.
What are the factors that you appreciate about this C19 business hiatus?
Amid the challenges it can be hard to see any upside but I guess there’s the opportunity to reflect on how we did business and what ways we might improve. We have the time now to attend to finer details we ignore when busy.
What upcoming challenges do you foresee?
For us, we feel our strategy and the quality of our product will carry us through the tough times. But we worry for other people. There’s not enough money on the island for everybody to open their businesses and many won’t survive. Bali will come out the other side of this but there’s still a lot of pain to go through before we recover.
What star sign are you? And do you think that your particular horoscope characteristics emboldened you to take this plunge and carry it on through?
Superstition has never been part of our business model.
Are you currently running any promotional campaigns and / or amazing offers?
The Forge has daily promos. But as customers notice, we have not decreased the quality. The standard is still premium.
Our Wednesday Rp1k Wings night and Sunday Roasts have been smash hits. We’re also doing Monday Steak and Wine, Tuesday 2for1 on all menu items, Thirsty Thursday drink promos, TGIF Burgers and Beer and Saturday Oysters and Clams.
For ShiShi, we are starting promo nights soon with Sushi & Sake, a dumplings night and possibly a Ramen night. Those will be in the Bistro downstairs where we’ve now added a DJ to give it a more consistent vibe with upstairs.
Do you have a mantra, music or a motto (or YouTube video or similar) that you have used, weekly or daily, as you have completed and opened in these trying times? We would love you to share with us.
Matur Suksema and as ever – may The Yak be with you.