05/07/2018 by Devishanty 0 Comments
The Force Behind 5 Star Hotels
As an ex-Pastry Chef who has worked in many 5 star hotels, Chef Rahmat Kusnedi (CRK) built his own brand, Physalis’s, a pastry supplier which supply its products to 5 star hotels. Even though he started humbly in 2011, with only 3 staffs in a house’s garage, now Physalis’s central kithen is standing on 800m2 land with over 80 employees that’s capable of producing 50.000 pcs cake and 40.000 bread per day. Of course it doesn’t happen overnight, CRK tells us the story of the long journey and his big sacrifice in creating Physalis’s as it is now.
To CRK, his business as pastry producer is very prospective in the future because nowadays, hotel investors are no longer willing to invest large sum of money in pastry kitchen. “They prefer to build banquet kitchen that costs relatively lower. In pastry kitchen, you’d need equipment such as oven, mixer, dough sheeter that might cost you billions. What’s the output? Cake shop? How much you can earn? It’s not efficient to do so!” said CRK. As a result, many 5 star hotels prefer to outsource their pastry products, one of them, is from companies like Physalis’s.
CRK was inspired from his journey in Singapore. He saw that Singapore only has 3 most prominent pastry producers which supply the products to almost 5 star hotels there, starting from pastry product, breakfast item, dessert, up to the set menu. “After observation, the problem lies in the human resource. In Singapore, the minimum wage for entry level position is around Rp 30 million, meanwhile for the Pastry Chef, it’s around Rp 80-100 million,” he said.
CRK saw it as opportunity, even though Indonesia is a big country with lower minimum standard salary, the trend to convert to outsourced products is evident, especially in big cities. Actually, we’re starting to have more and more talented pastry chefs, however, due to the lower salary, most of them prefer to work abroad, especially in the Middle East. “I used to have difficulties, from the lack of staff or the equipment broke down. When I want to outsource the products, the specification doesn’t meet 5 star hotel’s standard. And then I thought, why don’t I make my own supplier company because I know exactly the specific requirements for 5 star hotel,” said CRK.
In 2011, CRK made Physalis’s kitchen in a garage of a house in Anggrek Loka, BSD, with only 3 staffs. At the time, Physalis’s was supplying for a 5 star hotel who had fire damage and lost its pastry kitchen. “At the time, we only had 3 staffs. I was in charge in production, also for delivery and invoicing. I did many things by myself because it was not possible for me to have too many staffs. Even in that condition, I have to inject Rp 12 million/month from my personal account to pay for the operational and staffs’ salary,” recalled CRK, who was still working at a 5 star hotel at the time.
Since then, Physalis’s existence was spreading through word of mouth and they managed to supply their products to more 5 star hotels. “I created Physalis’s specifically for 5 star hotels market, because if I want to compete in 4 star hotels, I have to fight against big companies.”
After 1,5 years, Physalis’s reached its peak production capacity and they had to move to bigger place, a 3 storey commercial shop in ITC BSD. “Actually, bigger place required bigger fund injection, it was around Rp 40 million/month” he said.
Of course the gap was filled by the expansion of client portfolio, such as from arilines. After spending 2 years, CRK decided to expand even further and move once again to Komplek Pergudangan Bizpark on a 800m2 land. “Don’t mention the fund injection. If previously it required RP 40 million/month, now the number can be used to buy a car because of higher operational cost. If the electricity bill in the garage was Rp 2-2,5 million, in the shop it was Rp 8-12 million, meanwhile here, it’s above Rp 60 million/month,” said CRK.
Phyalis’s expansion is conducted more aggressively, from supplying to coffee chain, to having its own outlet, Eat’ n Treat Patisserie in Muara Karang and an online delivery brand, I Love Keika. Often times, Physalis’s acts as private label brand which produces pastry products under the name of other brands. Physalis’s is also known for their participation in competition. Last year, they managed to win 2 competitions in 2017’s SIAL Interfoord, the Bakery Challenge and Jajan Pasar Challenge.
With bigger production capacity, CRK decided to go all out professionally, especially in terms of certification. “Certification makes everything more expensive. After getting halal certificate, we’re in the middle of process of getting ISO. Compared to other places, Physalis’s products may cost higher because we have higher standard. Even for the floor, we use the international standard epoxy, we also have delivery trucks equipped with chiller. We can reach this point because of process, it’s not instant, I know how to escort a business to reach the next phase.”
Dairy Product Application
As companies whose 5 star hotels as its clients, of course Physalis’s deal a lot with dairy products. “There are ways to see it, but simply said, the use of dairy product and non dairy can be illustrated like European and Japanese car. Japanese car is very easy going, it doesn’t have too many buttons, just ignite it and roll on, meanwhile for European car, I don’t think everyone knows how to turn it on. Sometimes you have to hit the brake, or the machine won’t start until you put on the safety belt. In addition to higher price and better taste, dairy products also require more complicated handling and better storage facilities,” said CRK.
In terms of health, CRK sees dairy as the more natural product as it doesn’t use too much additional sugar and chemicals like its non-dairy counterpart. “I have to admit, our awareness on health issue is not that great. We have some bakeries with healthy concept but they don’t work too well, because basically, what’s good in your mouth is not good for your body, meanwhile Indonesians want delicious and healthy food. We can tell the low awareness from our habit of reading product’s specification, most of us are still concerned only about expire date, they don’t pay much attention to the nutrition facts,” said CRK.
What most companies do is that they exploit one of the most considered “healthy” ingredient, like whole wheat in wheat bread. Even though it might has the same ingredients such as fat, protein, egg, and sugar, people tend to focus on the whole wheat. “The point is, in this regard, we should be a step ahead, but you can’t be too many steps ahead because our understanding of healthy concept is not that good.”
Komplek Pergudangan, Bizhub Serpong Blok GF-1, Jl Raya Puspitek, Gunung Sindur, Bogor
Phone: +6221 2966 2359, +6221 2966 2364, www.physalis.co.id