H. Sigit Yananto, S.Pt., second generation owner of Ampera.
The restaurant Warung Nasi (WN) Ampera is famous for high standard of tidiness, comfort, quick service, and of course, delightful dishes. With 80 branches spread across Indonesia from West Java, to Central Java, and to Bali, people would not assume that WN Ampera start off from street side stall near Terminal Kebon Kalapa, Bandung. How did it come to be as famous as it is today?
H. Tatang Sujani and his wife, St. E. Rochaety were the ones who pioneered WN Ampera in 1963. Back in the days, Tatang was an employer to a food stall until he decided to start one himself upon learning all the basics needed on the management.
He then applies higher standard to his own stall compared to his old workplace. He applied quick and friendly service to the customers, but keeping the prices affordable as well. They purposefully keep their prices low so that people from all walk of life could dine in their place. “Helping those who are unfortunate was the owner’s vision upon starting this business,” said Takwin Saptaji, the representative to the owner of WN Ampera.
The vision is also the background to the name ‘Ampera’. The word is an abbreviation from ‘Amanat Penderitaan Rakyat’. H. Tatang and his wife wanted to ease the suffering of the people by providing affordable food in their stall.
Sunda dishes are customer’s favorite
Display of Warung Nasi Ampera’s menu.
WN Ampera provides typical Sundanese dishes, such as nasi liwet, nasi timbel, gepuk, roasted chicken, ayam kecap, bacem, variations of pepes, and many more. Everything is served with high standard on hygiene and taste which is the plus point of Ampera compared to its competitors. Ampera became an idol, from the time it was a food stall under a tent, until now that it has grown to a proper restaurant.
The roasts and stir-fried menus is the most popular option in this restaurant. To produce the best flavor for those dishes, WN Ampera uses Bango sweet soy sauce. These specific menu type, including grilled chicken, ayam kecap, and gepuk, include Bango in their cooking process. “For roast, stir fry, also the baceman, Ampera utilizes Bango. It gives not only stronger flavor to the dishes, but also appealing look. The coloration is much more defined and with glazing look,” quoted Takwin.
Their choice to use Bango brought them delight, with their main dishes that incorporate Bango sweet soy sauce such as gepuk and grilled chicken became the best seller. For Gepuk which takes longer to cook, Bango can be used in place of brown sugar or to enrich the sweetness during the drying process. The base white seasoning used on gepuk also keeps its natural flavor. Then, looking at the coloration, during the final process of grinding, flattening, then frying, the gepuk do not pale, but remains the perfect classic brownish color which makes it more appetizing for the customers.
Grilled chicken package, one the favorites.
Services, prices, and flavor are the key to success
The standard of quick service brings fame to Ampera. There was even a phrase coined, ‘geksor’, when it came to this place, a Sundanese term which means to be served as soon as one has taken a seat. “So our customers do not need to wait for long. As soon as they sit down, the dishes are ready on the table,” Takwin explaining the signature of WN Ampera known by the people.
The concept of quick service and affordable price made Ampera to grow unhindered. As the stall near Terminal Kebon Kalapa can no longer held the number of the patrons, in 1968 they finally opened the first permanent restaurant at Sukarno Hatta Street, Bandung.
After the grand opening, the service is continue to be upgraded. Other than its quick service and cheap prices, they focusing on the aspect of comfort to create the tagline of murah, ngeunah, tumakninah, meaning cheap, delish, and comfy. It is the service standard of WN Ampera to this day.
“From the start, this restaurant set low prices for the customers. Nowadays, with our standard of tidiness, comfort, and the facilities we provide, we still keep our prices lower compared to our competitors,” said Takwin.
Pandemic, a challenge yet also an opportunity
The comfy dine in room of Warung Nasi Ampera.
The pandemic was a challenging experience for culinary business, include WN Ampera. Limitations on dine in activity and the drop in people’s willingness to buy made for great challenge in growing the business. With the social distancing policy, the revenue of WN Ampera had plummeted to 30 percent compared to the time before the pandemic.
The management had to come up with a new strategy to increase sales. Two of them were dropped on the table. One was to make frozen food and the other was to make penyetan package with affordable price. Both of these products helped WN Ampera to survive during the pandemic.
The frozen food products apparently brought a new innovation to the WN Ampera. Frozen dishes that can be served quickly simple by heating it became the new standard. The benefits of this premade dishes is that the serving is far quicker with less effort on the process, plus it can be stored for longer period too. Now that they are used with preparing premade dishes, the service is even faster and fits the signature quick service tagline they have since long ago.
The production of frozen food also made them more efficient. They now have special storing facility which has the capacity to hold up to 4 tons. This allow the ingredients to be kept longer and lessen the waste as well. “Having big storage allows us to get more supplies and we can even negotiate a lower cost due to the volume increase in our purchases,” said Takwin.
The hygiene of Warung Nasi Ampera’s kitchen is well maintained.
Success Tips á la Ampera
- Gives quick service to customers
- Set an affordable price
- Make integrated storage to keep the ingredients preserved with no food waste.
- Use Bango sweet soy sauce to make delicious food with appealing looks.
- Make integrated call center, so the costumer service is uniformed.
- Applying a strict standard for investors who wants to wants to cporporate.