Before 19 May when people thought that Circuit Breaker is ending on 2 June 2020:
When all this is over, I’m going to find a really nice restaurant and celebrate. No more home-cooked food or suboptimal takeaway food. Let’s go somewhere that really shows what the pros can do.
Quite sorry to end your dream there, but almost half of the restaurants you’re thinking of going to might not make it.
Because as you probably know, Singapore is moving into Phase One post Circuit Breaker, and dine-in is still not allowed – so you can call it a PCB (Phase-One Circuit Breaker lah; what were you thinking?).
And restaurants are crying.
Survey by Chope: Deliveries and Takeaways Not Helping
Chope surveyed 150 dining establishments after the circuit breaker started, and found that 42% wouldn’t be able to operate beyond two months with present costs and revenues.
FYI, they’ve already gone through the two months during the CCB (Continuous Circuit Breaker – what were you thinking again?).
81% can’t last beyond six months.
What about deliveries?! They must have been doing something, right?
Done that. 62% of the restaurants that continued to offer takeaways and deliveries saw revenue drop by 50% or more compared to April last year. 42% of the restaurants had started delivery for the first time because of the new measures.
But how much did that actually help?
88% of the restaurants that had the delivery and takeaway services even before this said the additional measures only contributed to less than 10% of their revenue.
Retrenchment, Pay Cuts and Compulsory Leave
You might want to close your eyes for this one because there are only more terrible things to read.
11% of the restaurants already retrenched staff and another 25% are considering not hiring more staff if the situation doesn’t improve.
42% implemented pay cuts. Another survey back in March showed that 80% were already reducing casual labour hours and 1/3 are giving full-time staff compulsory leave.
To make things even worse, 13% haven’t received rental waivers from landlords, as the equivalent of the property tax rebate given by the gahmen.
Which is a strange thing to hear when Lawrence Wong said “Property owners will have to pass on the property tax rebates received to their tenants in the form of monetary payment or reduction in rentals in a timely manner and without conditions” last month.
One might start to wonder why the gahmen doesn’t just give the money straight to the tenants if that’s the purpose, but what do I know?
Reader: Ah, this is just about the usual length of a Goody Feed article, it’s time to close-
Just hold on a second, because I got more.
Keng Eng Kee Seafood: Might Have To Downsize Further To Survive
In case the shock of the above news made you forget where you heard Keng Eng Kee Seafood from, it’s that Keng Eng Kee, and not any other one.
That popular Tze Char Keng Eng Kee beside Alexandra Village Food Centre.
Yep. That one that got called the best by many bloggers and pops up on many top 10 lists.
Yep. That one that landed on The Plate Michelin recommendations.
Speaking to TODAYonline, the owner of the restaurant, Mr Paul Liew, said his takings have decreased by at least 50% since the circuit breaker. This is even with delivery and takeaway options.
He had already laid off four part-time workers, and said, “If the situation persists… we might have to downsize (further) to survive.”
Now, if such a popular stall are affected so badly, you can bet that your neighbourhood cai png hawker, which most probably doesn’t even provide delivery service, cries to sleep every night.
How about bigly chains?
Select Group: Food Outlets Sales Fell by More Than 60%
The group manages a range of food brands including Pho Street, Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert, Peach Garden Chinese Restaurant and Texas Chicken.
At food outlets like Peach Garden, sales fell by more than 60%. Tourist spots and Changi Airport business had come to a stand-still.
“The only better-performing concept within our portfolio is Texas Chicken, as consumers are generally more familiar with fast-food concepts for takeaways and deliveries,” Mr Tan said.
“Takeaways and deliveries have helped, but minimally only, as volume cannot replace the revenue lost from dine-in business.”
Tung Lok Group’s restaurants have also recorded revenue drops of more than 50%. Joe & Dough’s business shrunk by more than 60% across the chain as well.
Safe Distancing Will Be The New Normal
The restaurants who survived might open when the measures gradually phase out, but we can expect that restaurants just won’t be the same anymore.
The Tung Lok Group plans to limit communal dining in its restaurants and simplify menus to reduce costs.
Andrew Tjioe, the President Advisor at the Restaurant Association of Singapore and CEO of Tung Lok Group, said: “Businesses must be prepared to go along with the measures implemented by the Government to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the community, because if there is another outbreak, it will hurt our businesses even more.”
Eateries will also need to encourage more cashless payments, sanitise furniture and equipment more frequently, and continue digital check-in system efforts.
I should have eaten out more last year, damn it.
In other words, when we move into Phase Two, don’t be surprised that many of your favourite eateries are gone.
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