Woe is us, Many-kineko has become None-kineko.
Manekineko to Exit Singapore Operations
The Japanese karaoke chain, beloved for its trendily decorated rooms, announced last Wednesday (19 May) that it would cease operations in all its nine outlets.
The management team wrote in a Facebook post, “Karaoke Manekineko would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude and thanks to all customers who gave support to us. It is not goodbye; it is until we meet again.”
How touching, though we suspect it will be goodbye for a long, long time.
At its peak, the chain had popular outlets in Cineleisure, *Scape, Bugis+, Marina Square, Lucky Chinatown, SAFRA Punggol, SAFRA Jurong, and Tampines 1. It also maintained a luxury karaoke concept, K Suites, in Orchard Rendezvous Hotel, and a buffet restaurant in Cineleisure.
All of these outlets will be closed permanently.
In explaining the decision, Mr Akira Zama of Koshidaka Singapore, the local operator of the brand, remarked that, “We have been given no prospects on the resumption of our karaoke business, which is why we have decided to close all Manekineko outlets in Singapore in order to focus our limited resources on other countries.”
The brand operates more than 500 outlets in Japan in addition to business ventures in other countries.
He added, “We have been frustrated as to why we have not been allowed to resume our family karaoke business for these 14 months even though there were some periods when the public health situation was stabilised.”
As a result, all staff employed by Manekineko will be retrenched, but popular support for the brand suggests potential for re-entry, whenever that will be.
Karaoke Chains Struggle to Adapt
Other karaoke chains, debilitated by similar restrictions, have attempted to enter other businesses. Teo Heng, for example, currently rents out its Causeway Point, Bedok Point, and JCube outlets as work and study spaces.
So their customers can glance around, see the karaoke equipment around them, and feel sad about coming to karaoke to not karaoke.
While Teo Heng conceded that this business model is “not profitable”, with occupancy at about 20%, they hope it will cushion the financial impact of the indefinite shutdown.
It has already shut down two outlets permanently, with two more at AMK Hub and Tampines Hub to follow. The other seven outlets are closed until further notice.
Let’s hope the post-COVID-19 world will not also be a post-karaoke world. That’ll be a lot less fun.
Feature Image: Facebook (Karaoke Manekineko Singapore)
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