We have spoken about Sugar, the new discovery app that encourages you to reimagine Singapore in a new light. They just celebrated their full launch on 8th July that featured a full Nyotaimori spread, an ancient Japanese ritual of serving sushi on the body of a nude female model. Clearly, Sugar founders Stephen Barling and Ben Lee are not holding back on their promise to entice Singaporeans to “try something new everyday”.
It seems that despite just having their full launch, the responses have been positive, with users emailing their praise directly to the Sugar Team. “Someone emailed us to say ‘your app has changed our lives’,” said Stephen. “It’s helped them rediscover Singapore in a new and exciting way.”
Sugar may not only help people looking for new and exciting things to do here, but may also prove to be a blessing to budding merchants looking to set up independent F&B outlets here. With a growing F&B scene, many of the restaurants in Singapore are struggling amidst local rent spikes.
Figures published in The Straits Times in December 2013 showed that while 575 restaurants were set up in the period between January and November that year, 435 restaurants were also closed in that same time. With a 75% failing rate, the future of independent F&B outlets looks dim.
“The industry works in a basic framework – the more money you have, the more advertising you can afford,” says Stephen. “We at Sugar believe in democratizing advertising. You can’t pay more money to get more publicity on Sugar. We want to help everyone in Singapore equally, and that includes supporting small businesses.”
With 95% of the merchants on Sugar being F&B outlets, and with majority of them being independent cafés and restaurants, there is no reason that it wouldn’t attract the small and quirky players like flies to honey. And with such great responses already in place, it success looks almost imminent. It might even change the local culture quite a bit.
So next time you get bored in Singapore, you really have no excuse.