Catchy title and actually true. Let’s start from the beginning…
About a year ago, I was walking down the street in a busy restaurant area in Singapore and was amazed by the number of restaurants and bars to the left and right. This was just insane! Some were completely packed and some other were completely empty with more staff waiting outside than customers sitting inside. I started to ask myself the question; amongst this highly competitive market, how do all these restaurants sustain and do they make money?
I came back to the same street a few months later realizing that some restaurants’ names changed and some of the Food&Beverage outlets were shut down. A few months later, another new wave of restaurant and bar offering in the same street made me really start thinking what was going on. I went home to search online for statistics about the rate of Food and Beverage businesses opening and closing in Singapore and that was the trigger for me…
On average, two restaurants are opening every day in Singapore, but an average of 1.8 restaurants are shutting down every day as well! Something was definitely not right and just thinking about the efforts and investment of each of these restaurateurs and entrepreneurs, who started their business with the dream of becoming successful in the F&B scene, made me really concerned. Just in Singapore that’s more than 500 entrepreneurs every year that see their dream fading away… and extending my research was even more worrying…
Looking further I found out that worldwide the number of restaurants failing in the first year was close to 60%. With only one in three chances of success, starting a business in the food and beverage industry appears to be a high-risk venture. Putting things in perspective, the risk of failure in a start-up venture is between 60 to 75%, so yes opening a new restaurant is still less risky than launching a new start-up… But still, I was feeling empathic for the dreamers and entrepreneurs in F&B, and felt I should try to make a difference, help the community and change things.
So here we go, I’ve found my mission and felt energized about the idea to make a difference but now what? What should I do and where do I start?
I have had no idea about start-up businesses, I never invested in any Food and Beverage businesses BUT I have experience in revenue optimization, data analytics and have worked in hotels and food and beverage previously. I could start here: Food and Beverage Revenue Management!
I started writing a mission statement and came up with the following: I want to help F&B businesses sustain their operations and achieve their full revenue potential by using simple, but efficient revenue optimization techniques. Not bad, that could be enough to wake me up in the morning!
The idea behind the name REV21 – Revenue Management in the 21st century – is simple and straightforward: empowering food and beverage organizations to stay relevant and competitive throughout the century with revenue management tools and practices. Though I initially wanted to change the name, “REV21” became part of my life when talking to people about the idea and now it is here to stay.
Talking about the F&B industry, we are talking about businesses worldwide. So how could I reach as many businesses within a short period of time? The internet, of course. I decided to dig deeper into the tech world and found a way to translate F&B revenue management best practices into a web platform, super-duper user friendly that anyone could use it at any level (and not just the top 5%) and that will help entrepreneurs, managers and owners optimize their revenue and sustain their business longer.
The Leap Of Faith
I have to admit jumping from a very secure life to become a full time entrepreneur is one of the scariest things I have done so far in my life. However, after attending the Start-Up Weekend in Singapore in September last year, the speech of Chatri Sityodtong (CEO at ONE Championship) made me put things in perspective:
“You don’t want to wake up one morning being the next VP of Marketing for a toothpaste! You have one life and you should better do something about it: work for something you are passionate about and make a difference in the world around you”.
Attending several conferences and listening to start-up stories such as the creation of GO-JEK and meeting Kevin Aluwi (Co-founder) as well as Ajey Gore (CTO), made me realise there was a world out there where people actually worked for something they believed in and made a difference for millions of individuals. These entrepreneurs’ passion for their business was impressive and made me almost speechless. They definitely managed to rub some start-up excitement off on me.
Building my own company and creating a more sustainable F&B environment, that’s actually what I want to do! Failure is a possibility, but not trying and having regrets at a later stage in my life wasn’t an option. Also, I am sure I will learn a lot in this new adventure.
A few months ago my wife received an excellent job offer in the UK and after a few evenings of conversations and pro&con lists we made a life-changing choice: I have decided to follow her to the UK to give her the best chance of developing her career by doing what she really wanted to do. It’s commonly the custom that wives are following husbands, however I believe times are changing and its now important that husbands support their wives in their career’s aspiration too. I just will have to do more back and forth between the UK and Singapore for the moment.
I resigned from my corporate position in Singapore, registered the company, found a partner that I trust and who is as excited about the project as I am and decided to go full time on REV21.
And that kids, that’s how I’ve started REV21…
I made a few dollars on Bitcoin a few months ago and reinvested everything to start this company.
Rome was not built in a day nor is REV21, therefore we are going to develop the software step by step, starting with a very simple performance tracker. And as we reach user milestones, we will continue to develop further features relevant to the needs and expectations of the market.
If you have any comments, feedback or want to support us on our journey, don’t hesitate to reach out!
You can follow us and join our cause below; we will try to keep you in the loop of our advancement on a weekly basis:
Website and blog: www.rev-21.com
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/WeAreRev21/
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/fnbentrepreneur/