Dealing with a frantic F&B crowd? Find out first hand the secrets to alleviate your pain.
Updated: Feb 11, 2020
Having compiled Japanese, Western and Asian cuisine into one extensive menu, Greenhouse Café seeks to satisfy anyone with a picky appetite. We had the chance to have a chat with Avinash Mahendram (Nash), the restaurant manager of Greenhouse Café as he shared with us his secrets on how he run and manage the insane lunch crowd here at Tuas, Singapore.
Tell us more about yourself.
My name is Nash, I am the restaurant manager and I also deal with business development for Greenhouse Café. To serve the lunch crowd of Tuas, we have a 150-seater restaurant that offers a wide range of cuisines from Western cuisine to Asian cuisines. Prior to this, I have been in the F&B industry for close to 15 years, working from night clubs to restaurants.
Avinash Mahendram, or fondly known as Nash, manages the Greenhouse Café, a quaint restaurant located in the industrial area of Tuas.
How did Greenhouse Café come about?
The owners of Greenhouse Café wanted to create a food lifestyle hub within Tuas to reach out to the “Tuas-narians” - especially those working in the oil and gas, pharmaceutical and engineering line. When you think of having lunch in Tuas, you’ll think of crowded canteens and eateries.
Hence, our mission is to provide good quality food accompanied by a superb ambiance. That’s why our restaurant glass window stretches from the ceiling to the floor, giving it an open and vibrant atmosphere. We introduced plants around the vicinity of the restaurant to give the industrial place a natural charm. To pamper the lunch crowd further, we offer multiple choice of cuisines such as Japanese, Asian and Western to satisfy their cravings.
Their seafood udon set lunch.
How do you manage the peak period in the café?
Our lunch crowd starts at noon and there’ll be almost 150 hungry “Tuas-narians” streaming into our restaurant. To help facilitate our order management, we introduced online preordering and digital payments through our table tablets. This helps to free up our resources so that we can provide an excellent dining experience. It’s critical for us to help them with this seamless experience as they have a short lunch break. In addition, 80% of “Tuas-narians” do not drive to work, so we saw this as an opportunity to further extend our offerings via delivery services.
Ala carte salad bowl.
How do you remain successful in the ever-changing F&B Industry?
With this ever-changing landscape, we have to always be one step ahead and by capitalising on digitalisation and automation, we have managed to tidy up a lot of our internal inefficiencies. As an example, previously, we were using many different mediums to order from our suppliers. This made it time-consuming and inconvenient as we had to scramble to our desktop when it comes to ordering by email and we have to check our inventories before WhatsApp-ing, SMS-ing or calling our suppliers. However, with Zeemart, we are now able to streamline all these manual processes into one single platform, allowing us to save close to 40% of our time. Also, gone are the days of collating invoices of our orders from various platforms as our on-demand expense report are now calculated by Zeemart on the cloud.
On top of that, Zeemart also helps us to recognize price fluctuations ahead of time so we are able to correct our costing issues almost immediately. They tell us whenever there's a sudden percentage increase in price for our SKU. With the time and money saved, we can now focus more on the other elements of running a restaurants such as menu-building, marketing, and customer experience. Especially doing the groundwork to get the word out about Greenhouse Café as the people in the Tuas area are much more old-school and hands-on compared to say the Central Business District.
Salmon Teriyaki Bento, their best-seller.
What were your initial feelings towards Zeemart?
At first, just like transiting into any new software, I was skeptical and worried that my senior staff would not be able to adapt to Zeemart. However, after reading more about it and having attended the F&B productivity talk given by SME Centre, of which Riverwalk Tandoor were sharing on how easily they adopted to Zeemart further assured me to give it a go. And since Zeemart is currently free, there’s really nothing to lose.
The look on Nash's face nowadays with Zeemart assisting him with a better overview of his restaurant.
Any handy pointers for those who are new to the F&B Industry?
I believe that concept and cost are two of the most important factors which will drive success in today’s F&B scene. Sometimes it is not about how tech-savvy you are on Instagram or how beautiful your food looks - though it plays a part, the concept, ambiance, and general atmosphere of the place will be the pulling factor for attracting and retaining customers. At the end of the day, it comes down to the numbers and the people working around you as well. To have a good team, an effective one that helps you to look into and manage your cost from rental to ingredients in your menu would prime sustainability into your business.
Lastly, I will leave you guys with this thing that I learn from a manager many years ago. He told me that if you can effectively work with the worst person that you can ever work with and still somehow change them or run your operations, then you are there already.
Greenhouse Café is located in the “Heart of Tuas”... by Tuasnarians for Tuasnarians serving you Asian, Japanese and Western Cuisine during your Lunch Hour.