Win­ning spirit

Prestige Indonesia - Lifestyle - - CONTENTS -

“I am very com­pet­i­tive,” says chris­tian rijanto. “I hate los­ing. there’s no prize for be­ing sec­ond.” the hand­some, charis­matic en­tre­pre­neur is a co-founder of Is­maya Group, which made a huge im­pres­sion on the restau­rant and bar scene when it opened Blow­fish in 2002. Since then, the com­pany’s other ven­tures - such as So­cial House, Kitch­enette, pizza e Birra, Sushi Groove, Djakarta Ware­house project and Skye - have mostly en­joyed tremen­dous suc­cess. In 2014 alone, Is­maya opened some 20 new out­lets and held 10 big events.

rijanto and his team have branched out into the mid­dle east in re­cent years, open­ing four Is­maya projects in Dubai. “Firstly, our goal is to make a dif­fer­ence in our na­tion, and, se­condly, to pro­mote In­done­sian brands over­seas,” he ex­plains. “When I was grow­ing up, In­done­sian brands were seen as in­fe­rior. once we had a chance to ex­port our brand over­seas, we opened So­cial House in Dubai mall, the world’s largest mall, which opened in 2008.

“the chal­leng­ing part is manag­ing our ag­gres­sive ex­pan­sion. We’re al­ways do­ing a lot of new projects, so we have to man­age our re­sources well. We part­nered with Jimmy akili on, and, in 2015, we’re go­ing to see the open­ing of two new con­cepts, the Dan­ish patis­serie af­faere and an Ital­ian restau­rant called GIA.”

rijanto is a huge Star Wars fan. He has a life­size yoda statue and minia­ture Stormtrooper fig­urines in his of­fice. “I feel lucky to be able to do what I love to do and to have the chance to cre­ate some­thing good in Jakarta,” he says. “I want Jakar­tans to be proud of their city. Be­fore, the city wasn’t known for its lifestyle, but a lot of peo­ple travel to In­done­sia now just to ex­pe­ri­ence Jakarta.”

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