Tell us what you have been getting up to during lockdown…
During this 3-month lockdown, all our daily lives were limited to our home to avoid getting infected by the virus. This pandemic really changed everyone’s normal life. After enjoying a few days of doing nothing but watching Netflix, we started to make up plans to react to any unfavourable outcomes after this lockdown. Such as moving even more towards online sales due to change of people’s eating habits. More and more people would prefer to eat at home rather than going out. We have also tested a few new dishes, which are originally from Taiwan and China but with our personal twist to make it more interesting. It was one of the fun parts of this lockdown, we enjoyed the food ourselves, and we hope you do too when we launch them. We have also been in close communication with Boxpark during this lockdown regarding any government announcement and business arrangement, which has been very helpful.
What are some of the challenges you have faced during the COVID-19 outbreak?
The biggest challenge was to change our daily life routine completely. We could not go out to meet friends, we could not make the food we love and serve our lovely customers, we could not go shopping, we could not even see people on the street. It feels like we are on an isolated island, which made us feel lonely, useless, and hopeless. Thank god we have social media and video chat, which connected us with all our friends and families.
Do you have any tips you can share with other food businesses on how to stay relevant and adapt during a crisis?
We have 3 words for our peers.
This is not difficult to understand, sufficient cash for at least 6-12 months will be critical for us to survive during this once in a lifetime crisis. Try to explore any possible sources of funding. There are quite few supports provided by the government, such as business rate relief, furlough scheme, Eat Out To Help Out scheme etc. We have applied interest free loans from the bank, which we kept only for uncertainties. You can only win the game when you are still in the game.
Regardless whatever happened, you must be 100% positive. We know it won’t be easy but that’s the only way we can go through all this. Just treat it as a test, only the best will survive!
What we mean by this, is that you need to be aware of what is going on. Whenever there is a crisis, the opportunities always follow. There might be new ways of doing business, one new app may be the next “Deliveroo”. There might be new ways of doing marketing, nowadays young people are more into short video clips rather than photos. There may be the next “Instagram” coming out, who knows? You just need to be alert and open-minded to new stuff, so you won’t be left out of the competition.
After all, don’t forget why you are doing it, keep doing what you love and everything else will just turn out fine eventually!
What does the future look like for you now – are you looking forward to anything?
We are expecting shortfalls in business as we are not planning to provide eat-in services until October, because we prioritise our staff’s health and safety before business. As I mentioned above, we understand the pandemic has changed our normal lives, and things are not as ideal as it used to be, but we are still looking forward to the future. When we realised how much our customers missed us when we resumed trading, it made us feel so warm and hopeful! We can see that it will be tough and challenging, but as I said, as long as we are doing what we love, everything will be fine.
What has been your biggest learning from lockdown?
Social responsibility is the biggest thing I’ve learnt from this lockdown. We always say we are independent individuals, but no one is really that independent as we thought. We are all linked together in all sorts of ways as a community. This has become one of the factors I consider when I make any decision in the restaurant. For example, to protect our staff and customers when we started trading after this lockdown, we have installed a dry hand sanitiser station in the front of the order winder, a plastic divider to avoid contact. We provide our staff with medical masks and will be available to customers too if anyone needs it. Our shop is disinfected twice a day with 80% alcohol, etc.