Kitchenesia.com - Indonesia holds richness of cuisine for it consists of diverse people and gets influenced by other cultures around the world.
But most of the foods succeed to survive and assimilate are hearty and fulfilling foods. They also contain unique blend of flavors, with applicable cooking techniques that are similar to inherent characters in Indonesian dishes.
In 2016, a Swiss-born family expanded their culinary business to Jakarta. It is SaladStop!, a fast-casual food chain that focuses on salad. But the problem is, despite its rising popularity in big cities, many still consider salad unsuited to eat as daily foods, contrary to what happen in the west.
One of SaladStop!’s key persons said that she initially hesitated whether her business would run smoothly in Indonesia.
“No matter where they live or backgrounds, Indonesians have a strong rice-based diet in their daily lives,” said Kathrine Desbaillets-Braha, the co-owner of SaladStop! on her exclusive interview with Kitchenesia.
Considering SaladStop! just opened its fourteenth store in its fourth year of operation in Indonesia, the doubt is proven the otherwise.
As a family business, the company’s core positions hold by whole family members. Daniel Desbaillets (67) founded SaladStop! in 2009; he holds the chairman position. Daniel has two children named Adrien (36) and Kathrine (34) who both are co-founders and directors of SaladStop!. Katherine’s husband, Frantz Braha, joined later as the director.
In conjunction with SaladStop!’s fourteenth store grand opening, Kitchenesia met Kathrine Desbaillets-Braha, the co-owner of SaladStop!. The Swiss-born entrepreneur shares about SaladStop!’s commitment to spread ‘responsible eating’ and her experience as a female entrepreneur.
How did you create SaladStop!’s menu? Where did the inspiration come from?
My family had been exposed to many cultures because we had a strong background in hotel field. My father spent his whole life working in a hotel business for 40 years. My brother and I studied hotel management as well. Thus, we learn about hospitality management as well as food there. Our jobs also require us to travel a lot.
Because of my father’s job, our family moved to another country every two years. We have lived in Indonesia, Korea, Thailand, and the list goes on. We always try local dishes whenever we went abroad. We take those flavors and put them into our salad.
For one recipe, it took us about one year to research. Besides, SaladStop!’s also hire local chef so that our salad can adapt to local tongue.
Not many people in Indonesia know salad. Knowing this fact, why did you decide to bring SaladStop! to Indonesia?
When we observed Jakarta prior to 2016, we felt that healthy eating movement was already there. Indonesians big citizens already have concerns about what’s in their food. There was some kind of doubt when we opened our flagship in Senayan City, South Jakarta. It is because Jakartans is more rice-based. They like warm meal.
But surprisingly, our business has been running really well. We manage to open 14 stores in less than for years.
Talking about health-conscious eating, what does it mean to eat health-consciously?
I think health-conscious eating is number one: knowing what you put into your plate. Secondly, and the most important thing, it means the ability to read and understand the food labels and nutrition facts.
Tricky marketing has blurred a familiar term and change it with more sophisticated word. SaladStop! commits to be transparent. We provide nutrition breakdown in our website, including the ingredients just in case a customer has certain allergy to salad’s ingredient.
We also take one step further in other material like dressing. We make the dressing from scratch so we can guarantee there is no preservative and coloring in it. We are honest to customer that SaladStop!’s dressing contains high fat, but it is a good fat from olive oil.
Did you have a chance to taste Indonesian food? What is your favorite?
Definitely. When I lived in Indonesia for two years, I ate a lot of local foods. I have been a vegan by the time I domiciled in Indonesia. Well, I have been a vegan for more than 20 years.
Indonesian food is rich with vegetables. Even some meat-based foods are easy to be replaced with vegetables. My favorite is sambal because I like spicy flavors.
Where does SaladStop! obtain the ingredients?
More than 90% ingredients are from local farmer.
What is your message to female entrepreneurs who want to run a culinary business?
I think the most important thing, and what I feel has pushed SaladStop!’s to what it is today is passion. My family is really passionate to spread healthy eating in the easiest and most convenient way. SaladStop! is basically something I eat on daily basis. I live the brand.
So my message to young entrepreneur out there is follow your passion, and run a business that suits you the best.