Due to the recent increase in Covid-19 cases, Singapore had to revert to stricter social interactions and the default state of working from home in Phase 2 (Alert Heightened).
Dining is not allowed at Food and Beverage (F&B) establishments, and restaurants can only offer takeout and delivery. Also, people will be able to meet in groups of up to two, instead of five.
Hooi Kok Wai, 47-year-old co-owner of dim sum restaurant Red Star, said in a interview with TODAY that the 80-table restaurant had experienced a drastic drop in business since the start of Phase 2 (Alert Heightened).
The heritage dim sum restaurant has been popular with Singaporeans for many years, and it even used to be regularly booked for events on 15 of the 30 days of each month.
However, despite being featured on delivery platforms, the brand has seen a 90 percent drop in profits during this period.
The 82-year-old chef said the restaurant only takes about S $ 2,000 worth of orders on weekends, and at most S $ 1,000 on weekdays.
To add, the operating costs of the 80-seat restaurant amount to more than S $ 100,000 every month, especially since it started paying for accommodation for Malaysians among its workforce.
Red Star employs about 50 employees and has not laid off any of them since the Malaysia-Singapore borders were closed in March 2020. Hooi said the restaurant had only cut 20 to 30 of its part-time and ad hoc so far.
However, he said TODAY that if the current Covid-19 restrictions are extended, he did not think that “it is possible to continue without taking more drastic action.”
Many street vendors and food and beverage companies are suffering
Older street vendors with no computer or social media skills have been at a major disadvantage since the rules preventing eating at the restaurant went into effect.
There have been many reports of older street vendors struggling to make use of social media or online delivery platforms to extend their reach. These street vendors are also experiencing a large decline in visitor numbers due to heightened alert measures.
A.Channel News Asia reportHe highlighted how a barbecued seafood stand at Bedok’s 85 Fengshan Food Center failed to achieve sales of even S $ 100 in one day.
More recently, it was reported that the heritage brand Swee Kee Eating House was forced to close after being in operation for 82 years.
Featured Image Credit: Seth Lui
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