FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
28 March 2020, Singapore - The massive impact of COVID-19 on the F&B industry has led restaurateurs Peng Loh (Unlisted Collection) and Beppe De Vito (ilLido Group) to initiate a coalition of restaurant operators on 25 March 2020. The mission was to create an open conversation with one another to lend support and share information so restaurateurs can be better prepared during these unprecedented times. This community includes established restaurant groups and independent F&B concepts, and continues to grow.
The announcement of Budget 2020 on 26 March 2020 has led to the general consensus that the Government’s swift and decisive response to tap into the reserves has provided relief measures to possibly tide the industry over. The industry is aligned with the Government to save jobs and livelihoods.
Summary of Sentiments from the Restaurant Industry
50 Percent Wage Support A Great Relief (Literally)
Preserving the jobs of the staff was recognised as the first priority of restaurant owners during the first meeting. The announcement is unanimously recognised as a crucial help to keep businesses running. Says Peng Loh, Unlisted Collection, “50% is good and will help us to keep jobs.”
Hope for Rental Rebate to be Made a Mandate, Rather Than “A Suggestion”
There is a strong call for all landlords islandwide to support their tenants by passing on their savings from the waived property taxes. A majority of landlords are still passive and have not made known to their tenants what their plans are.
With the announcement of the Budget, some landlords have led the way in reducing rent or extending rebates. However, many of these rebates remain inadequate. Ultimately, the industry hopes for landlords to show their willingness in shouldering the times together, in this current time of need.
The industry also seeks for landlords to consider removing fixed rent, and allowing the option for operators to use a percentage of their sales to be paid as rent (eg: up to 15% of revenue, depending on location and nature of business), as recommended by Restaurant Association of Singapore.
There are also sentiments that the measures may be helpful to most restaurants, but those reliant on tourism and the MICE industry may still not be able to ride through this period.
There is also the uncertainty of the future as there is an expected recovery period of a minimum of 6 months.
Protection of Local Workforce Highly Appreciated; Industry Values The Foreign Workforce Too
In the last ten years, a steady influx of foreign talent in the F&B industry has propelled Singapore to achieve the status of a gourmet capital internationally, attracting the likes of the Michelin and World’s 50 Best Restaurants guide. From well known chefs and managers, to cooks and service staff, they have lent their international expertise to help Singapore secure its gold standard as a gastronomic destination. With the assurance that the local workforce is protected thanks to reliefs given by the Government, the industry believes in protecting their existing foreign workforce within their own capabilities. For most restaurateurs, rethinking of strategy on foreign talent pool is also a priority.
Support the F&B Industry Directly: The #SaveFNBSG Movement
The industry asks for consumers to continue to support the industry and to rest assured that restaurants are doing their best in adopting social distancing measures to ensure a safe dining environment. While some restaurants have expanded into deliveries, private dining experiences and take-outs, not all restaurants and eateries have the bandwidth to do so. The #savefnbsg movement on Facebook and Instagram aims to support F&B businesses during this period and to encourage consumers and businesses to share their support for one another.
Lynn Yeow-De Vito -
Jenny Tan -
Tan Pin Yen -
Lyla Lin -