US (Uniquely Singapore) Doggie Bakery was founded in 2004 with the vision of providing nutritious meals for dogs using human-grade ingredients. Having run it for 4 years, the main shareholder and cofounder, Leslie Sim, was at an impasse regarding the future direction of the company.
It was founded by Sim and Ms. Ho, one of his friends, and was the first bakery for dogs in Singapore. Sim observed the pressing issue of finding nutritious yet delicious food and snacks in the market for his own dog. Sim used to work with Ms. Ho in the hospitality industry, which exposed him to both Ms. Ho’s baking skills and her kindred passion for dogs. Both Sim and Ms. Ho were dog owners and both struggled to find quality treats and food for their pets in Singapore. After several discussions, Sim and Ms. Ho decided to open a bakery shop specifically for dogs. They spent three months curating the menu and looking for the first outlet and another month designing and renovating said outlet. The original US Doggie Bakery was built inside an annex concession outlet in a petrol station on East Coast Road in Singapore. Its business there was successful, and managed to break even in just 10 months.
In 2005, the opportunity to open a second outlet in a shopping mall came as the landlord was looking for a new vendor for its vacant space. US Doggie Bakery was selected to fill that space. Sim was responsible for marketing, revenue management, and hiring and training of staff. Ms. Ho was the head chef in charge of baking, cooking, and the Research & Design of new flavors and menu planning. The shop organized weekly networking activities for dogs and owners as well as loyalty programs to attract regulars. After three years, the third outlet was opened as a franchised business with Mdm. Nelly as the franchisee. In 2008, Ms. Ho resigned, deciding to move overseas to reunite with her family. Meanwhile, Sim was offered an opportunity to venture into a new business field overseas himself. In light of both Ms. Ho’s resignation and Sim’s job offer the franchisee Mdm. Nelly expressed interest in taking over the whole business. Sim was at a crossroads, heading into uncharted waters. He needed to decide whether he would sell the business, continue running it with a new bakery chef, or appoint someone else to manage it.
Authors: Kuan-Huei Lee & Jawn T. H. Lim