Meet Indonesia's fearless restaurant tycoons
With one of the youngest populations in the world, Indonesia is home to a new breed of entrepreneurs who are undeterred by high risks.
CNBC's Christine Tan interviewed the three founders of some of the country's hottest restaurants on this week's segment of Managing Asia to gain insight into their bold ventures.
Ismaya Group, a food and beverage firm that has dished out concepts such as Shanghai-inspired bistros, Japanese fusion and specialty coffee to a rising pool of wealthy consumers, brings in annual revenues of over $70 million and is planning 14 different outlets within the next year. Their restaurants are frequented by Jakarta's socialites and are housed within the city's most fashionable shopping malls.
The group has also branched out into the concert promotion business with Ismaya Live, which brought Katy Perry to Indonesia.
As the world's fourth most populous country, Indonesia has long enjoyed a youth bulge with over 20 percent of its residents under 30. That allows the economy to enjoy a "demographic dividend," where a younger, productive labor force outweighs the number of dependents, i.e. children and the elderly.
Apart from giving the country a competitive edge over the rest of Asia's rapidly aging nations, a younger workforce also translates into a consumption boom, which Ismaya's Bram Hendrata, Brian Sutanto and Christian Rijanto, all former investment bankers and business consultants, have tapped into.
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"We are [better able] to gather this market demographic: the highly influential. They are able to spend with the market and middle class growing," Rijanto told Christine Tan.
Riding on those factors, the founders now want to make a foray into property development.
"I think we can get a good piece of land to build an apartment or an office building. I think eventually, we will want to build hotels," said Hendrata.
Passion, not profit, seems to be driving the trio's overseas expansion. With outlets in Dubai, India, Singapore and Malaysia, they say they have no problem refusing joint venture partners if their agendas don't match.
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"There are a lot of big tycoons that have the money to invest in the company but I can clearly see they are just [doing it because they want] to make more money and they don't have the passion. I have turned down [investment offers] before because I feel that we don't see eye to eye in terms of running the company," said Hendrata.
Meanwhile, with the rupiah hovering near five-year lows, the trio says they haven't been able to pass on the costs to their customers fast enough.
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"We understand that the key word is actually value. It's not about pricing it low and then customers feel good about it. It's about the value [and] how we package it. I think the day we have to compete on pricing… we will have be in big trouble," Hendrata stated.
— By CNBC.com's Nyshka Chandran. Follow her on Twitter @NyshkaCNBC