Want some fries? The success story of this businessman will surely make you yearn for so much fries!
Hasif Othman, a 26-year-old entrepreneur from Singapore, was the man behind “Katoshka” who thought of bringing the fries business after graduating from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT).
According to Hasif, he named his business “Katoshka” which is a Russian term for potato, to have a brand name that sounds ‘international’. His fries were inspired by Amsterdam chips which were served in cones and made from premium grade Russet potatoes.
Hasif narrated that he took the risk of putting up his business despite being ‘alien’ in the food and beverage industry after the idea just popped out while conversing with his bestfriend, Shybree.
From then on, he spent about three to four months planning and conceptualizing his business. He invested RM31,400 (US$7,350) out of his personal pocket and some financial support from his parents as starting capital.
“A lot of R&D was done. We had to decide first what would be on the menu and from there, we sourced for the ingredients. Then we got our family and friends to conduct taste tests on our menu,” the Katoshka owner said.
And to make his fries different from his competitors, Hasif revealed that they import their potatoes direct from the US. Prior to serving, they carefully cut them into ideal sizes, fried them not only once but twice to achieve the golden brown appearance, and top them generously with special sauces which made it exceptional.
Just like any other businesses, Hasif shared that they had encountered problems at the start of the business. For the first two months, it also did not generate so much income for him. He said customers back then had suffered long lines and felt bored because of waiting so long for their orders to be served, but eventually got over it as times went by, when they’ve learned the ‘hang’ of it.
And because of their unique fries, many consumers recognized their product and even featured it in media.
“We were lucky because we presented a rather unconventional food for a ‘pasar malam‘ which caught the attention of the media. Furthermore, our main highlight was the salted egg yolk sauce, which was highly raved last year, and this earned us considerable attention,” Hasif claimed.
Recently, the young businessman is happy to share that his fries stall is making good money. In fact, he has other stalls operating in other locations already. Hasif said each stall sells about 300 cups of fries every day, earning him about US$1,500 each day, depending on the location.
Great news is, Hasif still continues to discover and invent concepts and flavors for his business yearning towards serving more and more of his ‘saucy’ fries!