We go behind the scenes at the latest F&B openings to check out the highlights and challenges faced.
Tell us more about Kazo.
Known as Nichifu Bakery in Taiwan, it is a chain bakery popular for their picture-perfect cakes. The founders were looking to expand overseas and that’s where my partner and I stepped in. We have always wanted to bring quality Taiwanese confectionaries to Singapore. After visiting several known establishments, we knew it was a winner. The name, Kazo, is a term referring to the sound made when biting into something crispy and acts as a prelude to the characteristics of our main sellers of Cream Puffs and Danish Polo Buns. To fit the young, modern energy of the brand, we also launched the quirky Kazoman (soy drink in bottles modelled after masculine men); which our customers love to bits.
What makes Kazo different?
The pastry. It’s made of flour and yeast imported from our sister brand in Taiwan, and produced using a combination of French, Japanese and Taiwanese baking techniques; rather than the more common Japanese style in the market.
What were some of the challenges you’ve faced?
The first step is always the hardest to take. My partner and I came from an unrelated industry and had no experience in F&B. Gaining the trust of landlords to secure a location proved difficult. Our patience eventually paid off with Chinatown Point offering a fantastic location on the ground floor with lots of foot traffic.
Then came the renovations. Not only was the timeline tight, we almost missed our opening day when our contractor broke the display counter (which also acts as the storefront). We lucked out, cutting it close with a new counter, 30 minutes before our grand opening. My takeaway is to plan ahead and communicate with your contractors at every stage. Be diligent and track the progress – you never know what might happen.
You’ve opened to much fanfare. how has the response been so far?
The location in Chinatown, perhaps, played a part. We have had lots of foreign customers; Australians and Europeans included. There was one tourist who gave our Danish Polo Bun a try and came back for another five more. We were surprised by his praise, considering pastries are a lot more common in Western cuisine. He thoroughly enjoyed the unique soft yet crumbly texture of the bun, juxtaposed with the luscious cream. We were happy to know that our hard work paid off.
What’s next for Kazo?
New products and an expansion in the later part of the year. We are in talks with several malls in hopes of bringing our quality bakes conveniently to everyone.