Many roads lead to success, just as many roads lead to Rome. This is what Victoria, owner of Dapur Jawa Perawang restaurant in Perawang, Riau, experienced. Victoria emerged as one of the winners of Bango Penerus Warisan Kuliner 2018, thanks to the Javanese dishes she once craved for.
Originally from Jogjakarta, Victoria moved to Riau after her marriage to Hendra. Having lived in Java for so long, Victoria often longed for Javanese food. Often, she would cook Javanese dishes to satisfy her cravings. Eventually, she was inspired to open a Javanese restaurant in Perawang in March 2015.
With the support of her husband, Victoria started by selling breakfast fare. The ample amount of customers gave both husband and wife the courage to expand their business. Soon enough, they opened the doors to the Dapur Jawa Perawang restaurant, serving customers from noon to late evening every day.
One of their specialty dishes that’s a favourite among customers is the special rib tongseng (Javanese rib stew) made with lean beef ribs. Bango Sweet Soy Sauce is a key ingredient in the recipe. Victoria confessed to have tried several brands of soy sauce, but she found Bango to be the best of the lot.
The stew seasoning used by Dapur Jawa Perawang is exactly the same as typical Javanese stew seasoning, except for one small change. In order to suit the Sumatran palate, Victoria modified the recipe by reducing the sweetness and thickening the soup, as true Sumatran dishes typically have thick coconut milk-based soup.
Victoria’s 4 tips for restaurant owners
Take heed of these 4 tips on how to grow your culinary business from the owner of Dapur Jawa Perawang.
1. Understanding consumers’ palates
Understanding the palate of your consumer directly affects your success in the culinary business. Victoria knew this and modified the recipe of her Javanese stew so that it was more palatable to Sumatrans. Victoria also often actively engages her customers for feedback on how to improve her menu offerings.
2. Routine quality control
As of now, Victoria’s focus is on management rather than the kitchen business. While all the seasoning and blends are trusted to her chef, she still maintains control over quality regularly. She routinely asks for random dishes to check for consistency of flavour. She usually picks a random day so the chef doesn’t have the chance to prepare the dish beforehand.
3. Quick service
One of the reasons why customers often lose their appetite is because of the long wait between ordering and service. According to Victoria, dishes in her restaurant are served around five minutes after the customer places an order. When there’s a long queue and it is likely that service would take some time, the restaurant staff will inform customers and give them an estimate waiting time. Keeping the diners informed gives them greater control over the situation and avoids misunderstandings.
4. Good financial management
Victoria believes that while delicious dishes are important, financial management is no less important. It is what determines whether or not a business survives for long. When the financial management and bookkeeping are well managed, then business may go about as usual. Otherwise, there is a high chance that business may be adversely affected.