“Because of the way we are open during the pandemic, we attract the people of Asia first for trust. Singaporeans know the brand,” said chef Nora Haron, the company’s culinary director.
“But now people are going back to work, so people are willing to try new foods, especially Americans who have been to Singapore and know what Singaporean cuisine is all about. So why not offer the same thing? Eating here is much cheaper than flying to Singapore.”
However, it was not a completely smooth ride.
Nora said opening a store in the US takes about two years – six times slower than in her home country.
“Different states have different regulations, different cities have different regulations. So you really have to do your homework,” she added.
“We have a lot of administrative procedures that we have to go through, challenges with the city, with the health department. All those checks and balances have to be done, and they don’t have to be as fast as we’d like.”
BRING LOCAL FOOD IN THE US
In New York, at least a quarter of Singaporean food operators at Singapore-style food hub Urban Hawker are now looking to bring a taste of local delicacies to other states like California.
“The opening in New York City gives us more opportunities to open up in different states like DC and LA, and we hope,” said Aidil Iskandar Salman, chief executive officer of Padi D. Hopefully, once we’re settled in New York, we’ll do some expansion.” ‘NYC.