Project Dignity is unique and in setting up the Dignity Kitchen (the branding), there is no reference point.
For Dignity Kitchen, there are three operating model for the start up of the food stalls
- Model One is to recruit a good hawker and employed him permanently, attached to a stall and let him manage it. The students will be attached to the food stall and learn. The problem is where to find a hawker who can cook, teach and manage the stalls at the same time. The good hawker will be managing their own food stall business, why do they want to come to train others. Even if I can find them, they will not be cheap. Serious I spend the month of September and October, exploring this model. I even went to Johor to interview potential hawker-teacher.
- Model Two is to recruit the students and get part time restaurant chef to come and train them. The students need to have some cooking background and we provide all the facilities for them to learn. My timing was wrong for this model. With the starting up of the Integrated Resort, restaurant chef is in demand and coming to work part time for Dignity Kitchen was difficult. (I should know I have very good network of chef in Singapore)
- Model Three is to find company that manufacture the food product on a commercial basis and then purchase the ready-to-sell product to sell at the stalls. The company will provide the food and the expertise to set up the stalls and in return we help the company to promote their product.
We starts off with business model three and I know will end with a hydrid of the three business models.
Stall 1 is sells Ngoh Hiong - traditional deep fried foodstuff. Mr. Polio and Mr. Ex-Con started work on time and spend the day cleaning the equipment. Their first instruction is "I want Changi Prison Kitchen standard."
No matter how much of planning you do for your starting up there will still missed out on a few items. We missed out the bowls, the chopsticks and plates required. These utensils are not cheap.
The first batch of deep fried Ngoh Hiong was surprising not too bad.