We spoke to Emerhub’s community members, Michael Huber and Francesco Angelino, about their journey of launching their first restaurant in Bali. It is an Italian dining restaurant in Canggu named Sa’Mesa.
It has a concept where all of their guests eat together at one long dining table, like at an Italian grandmother’s home. This concept of having a massive dish to share allows total strangers to become friends. In addition, it helps to reduce food waste to the absolute least.
As the owners and concept creators of Sa’Mesa, they gave us insights during our talk, which are practical when you are launching your first restaurant business in Bali. And, we have summed it up here.
Know the market in Bali and launch a restaurant by offering something different
A year of lockdown in Bali made Huber and Angeloni closer in touch with the community in Canggu. The community inspired them to launch Sa’Mesa with a concept never done before in Bali.
Huber stated, “I believe I know the market well; however, what we wanted to do is offer something different.” With their eye for detail and love, Huber and Angelino created the concept and business plan for Sa’Mesa.
Angelino also stated that they want to let people understand or teach their guests how they do it in the south of Italy. Something their guests would not expect.
Using a unique concept than most restaurants in Bali, Sa’Mesa launched and raised a total investment of IDR 1.3 billion. That is within a few days of their investor gathering.
Create a scalable ROI when launching a restaurant in Bali during the COVID-19 pandemic
“Our concept is scalable and might eventually turn into a restaurant chain, so we don’t even understand the full potential that Sa’Mesa could have.”
Huber also added, “Our concept was built around the idea to have a restaurant that could be successful for years to come, even with closed borders.”
Sa’Mesa’ is still at the early stage. But, the owners are positive they can get their entire investment back within the first 12 months.
Moreover, Michael Huber and Francesco Angelino are optimistic that Sa’Mesa can achieve a return on investment at least ten times over ten years.
Have the four key aspects of launching a successful restaurant business in Bali
According to Michael Huber, there are four key aspects needed to launch a successful restaurant business in Bali. The four key aspects besides products and services are the following:
- A great team
- A good internal structure
- Patience to follow the path you’ve set for yourself
Huber highlighted the importance of patience, “Nowadays, there are many tools to support you in terms of time tracking and task scheduling. All you have to do is keep the belief high and follow your plan day by day.”
Overcoming the key challenges in launching a restaurant in Bali
Michael Huber stated that they have two biggest challenges. It includes the legal side of the restaurant business and building a strong team.
If the key challenges the owners faced in launching a restaurant in Bali are currently your challenges as well, they recommend:
Getting help with the legal side and listening to the advice of experts
For foreigners who mostly do not speak Bahasa Indonesia, dealing with the legal papers can feel overwhelming. The advice of experts can help you a lot in managing the legal side of your restaurant business.
Furthermore, Francesco Angelino suggested that for anything you would like to do in Bali, you will need help from an operational manager and the local Banjar community.
Angelino added, “Sitting, meeting, and sharing ideas between the shareholders, owners, concept creator, and Banjar is the best thing you can do.”
You can do this regularly to decide what’s next after launching your restaurant in Bali. It is essential since the COVID-19 pandemic makes the market situation in Bali unpredictable.
Providing good working conditions and a very modern way of thinking for your staff
Like most foreigners, Huber and Angelino are used to a European or Western work mentality. Hence, with different work cultures, building a team in Bali can be very frustrating.
To overcome, unify mindsets in a good work environment. This way, the staff can have the same very modern way of thinking or working as you do.
Moreover, their challenge of building a strong team is their chance to fulfil their wants. It involves rebuilding the economy in Bali and offering as many jobs as possible.
Sa’Mesa now has a total of 25 people working whom the owners appreciate as much as possible. Doing so can also help to build a strong team.
Find the right partners to launch the restaurant business in Bali
The owners of Sa’Mesa advised using the access and knowledge professionals have and benefit from that. It is safer than looking for the cheapest solution to save a little money.
Huber emphasizes that a professional partner or agency to support you on your way to owning your own business in Bali is worth more than anything.
Even after five months since the launch of Sa’Mesa restaurant in Bali, they still reach out to legal professionals and occasionally ask for advice.
Similar to this interview-based article on Michael Huber and Francesco Angeloni, watch our interview video with Francesco Angeloni, also known as Paco. Join them and other expat entrepreneurs in our Facebook group – Doing business in Bali.