Jigger & Pony’s Indra Kantono was born into a family of dreamers. With entrepreneurs for parents, it stood to reason the young Kantono harboured big dreams of starting his own business. In 2012, Kantono launched his first brainchild Jigger & Pony with his wife. The duo would birth five more F&B concepts in the breakneck years that followed.
Any seasoned restaurateur would baulk at having to run six unique and separate F&B concepts synchronously, more so when one hails from a finance background like Kantono, but his people-first approach has won him loyal fans and accolades.
For one, the Jigger & Pony Group takes a personalised approach to recruitment. It focuses on grooming staff with grit, rather than just raw talent: Jigger & Pony principal bartender Boo Jing Heng, who was crowned Diageo Reserve World Class Singapore Bartender of the Year in 2016, had no prior experience when he first joined the company in 2012. Kantono’s tutelage and support enabled Boo (as well as many others in the Jigger & Pony team) to flourish.
“My number one priority at Jigger & Pony is to create the culture we want to have,” says Kantono, who describes it as his “daily struggle”. Given that Jigger & Pony has ranked among Asia’s 50 Best Bars for three years running, we’d say it is well-worth the effort.