With a ban on dining-in among the new “circuit breaker” measures taking effect, food outlets will be facing their biggest challenge yet as the coronavirus crisis rages on. But Mr Muhammad Husain Mansoor, 33, is not about to throw in the towel.
While grateful for the latest relief measures unveiled in the Solidarity Budget yesterday, the chief executive of Al-Azhar Group is also aware that he must improve his business model to keep it sustainable during this difficult time.
He told The New Paper yesterday that his company is rushing out a mobile application to allow customers to make orders, which he hopes will be a game-changer.
Mr Husain said he had this idea about six months ago, when Covid-19 was still unheard of, but the virus scourge made the app a top priority.
Its website is also being revamped to cater to online orders.
“Previously, our customers could only phone in their orders or come to our outlets for takeaway. There were a lot of manual operations involved,” Mr Husain said.
“But everything will soon be automatic. Customers can browse an online menu, pick their selections and make payment online.”
Mr Husain said this was one way the company could keep its workers gainfully employed.
“I want to avoid drastic measures like laying off workers. As a business, we have to be open-minded and adaptive.
“Without a doubt, the pandemic has taken a toll on us. But we are ready to fight, be resilient and stand in solidarity with our workers,” he added.
Two other food establishments also told TNP that they see this crisis not just as a setback but also an opportunity to transform and revamp their business models by leveraging on technology.
Singaporean pastry chef Janice Wong, who owns 2am:dessertbar and 2am:lab, recently launched online store Bake at Home to give customers access to recipes, cake premixes and baking ingredients such as popping candy.
Ms Wong told TNP: “In this time of crisis, we had to pivot our focus and message to our customers.
“Instead of selling, we are focused on giving. We encourage customers to stay at home, be safe and instead we will bring the Janice Wong experience to you at your home.”
She projected at least a 30% increase in online sales from its new enterprise.
Pan Pacific Hotels Group has also launched an additional e-shop for its Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant at Parkroyal on Beach Road, and will similarly launch a platform for its outlet at Kitchener Road soon.
The group said: “We have seen a steady take-up of online orders for all platforms. Pacific Marketplace has particularly been a favorite among regulars.”
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An original article from The New Paper