Innico Sjahandi: Implementing Operational Excellence

Story By
Fransisca Restiawardani

Innico Sjahandi, or “Igo” as he is known in his inner circle, is the director/owner of Igor’s Pastry, a growing foodservice company that focuses on producing healthy pastries.

With Igo as the face of the business, one might suspect that the energetic entrepreneur is the prime driving force behind its steady expansion. That is of course true, but Igo has never worked alone. Igor’s Pastry is a fine example of how far a married couple can collaboratively strive for success. Igo’s wife, Ratna, started the business 13 years ago as a small home industry with a daily turnover of 200 thousand rupiahs and eight employees on payroll. Igo left his job as Assistant GM at the then Hotel Majapahit Mandarin Oriental Surabaya to help Ratna expand the company, taking on the role of director and covering the management and marketing aspects while his wife helmed the kitchen as a pastry chef. Still in these same roles today, the couple now employs over 300 people and operates five shops in Surabaya, Jakarta and Bali.   

The novelty of Igor’s Pastry lies in its objective to enable people with health issues and dietary restrictions to enjoy cakes and pastries without qualm. The notion that everyone deserves to taste goodness in life has distinguished the company, enabling it to thrive within a tough foodservice industry.

Igo’s international educational background and work experience gave him an advanced way of thinking that has benefited the growth of his business. After completing their studies in hospitality in Bandung, both Igo and Ratna were offered positions at Gatwick Hilton Hotel in London in 1989. They moved to Switzerland in 1990 where Igo worked at one of Geneva’s top 10 Michelin restaurants. In 1992, Igo continued his studies at the Hotel Institute Montreux, where he earned his degree in hotel management while completing short courses and training at different institutes – including a short course in French Regional Culinary at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris. Igo returned to Indonesia in 1994 to work for Grand Hyatt Bali as Restaurant Manager for a year before leaving for the U.S. to take courses in F&B management, marketing management and leadership management at Cornell University in New York. Igo flew home to Surabaya afterwards to work at the then Hotel Majapahit Mandarin Oriental Surabaya, climbing the corporate ladder before he resigned to build his family business together with his wife. 

Back in 2001 when the business started, healthy pastry was virtually unheard-of. However, Igo and Ratna rightfully predicted that the market would grow increasingly health-conscious over the next few years. With her extensive knowledge of healthy food preparation, Ratna started a catering business in Surabaya specializing in food that was free of eggs, sugar, gluten, casein and flour – as well as low in carbs and high in fiber. She turned her deft hand to making guilt-free cookies, ice cream, snacks and pudding. Initially, all of their customers were friends before word of mouth began to spread. It wasn’t long before Igor’s Pastry began supplying to local supermarkets. As the business grew, it began to supply pastries to local cafes. In Bali, Igor’s largest revenue stream is the hotel, restaurant and café sector. In Surabaya, a retail strategy has won out, and the recently opened pastry shop and café in Jakarta has garnered good reviews. 

Igo has always been careful to oversee the whole aspect of production. He is certified in food hygiene and safety to operate a HACCP-based (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) food safety management system by the Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene, London. Meanwhile, the business’ management system, personnel and products have been certified by the TUV Nord, a Germany-based inspection organization providing certification and a quality seal for companies.