During the occurrence of SARS, the owner of Crave Nasi Lemak, Mr. Abdul Malik Hassan, started the business without any savings.
All the earnings by the Nasi Lemak Seller at Adam Road are used to pay the overhead costs etc before he receives his own salary
“We don’t have anything left for savings,” said Mr. Abdul. During SARS, we realised the importance of having reserves for emergency usage.
“If the country has their own reserve, we must have ours too,” said Mr. Abdul.
It turns out that this move paid off 17 years later – after the SARS episode that hit Singapore in 2003.
While many F&B restaurants in Singapore suffer losses or had to close down due to the current economy, Crave Nasi Lemak managed to brace through the storm and open not only one, but three new branches ever since entering Phase 2.
Three weeks before, Mr. Abdul started a new Nasi Lemak Crave kiosk at Bugis Junction.
Before National Day, there’s another branch which opened at NTUC hub nearby Joo Koon Circle, which is able to seat 16 customers.
Last Tuesday (11 Aug), another kiosk has opened at The Commerze @ Irving nearby Tai Seng which adds up to a total of 33 branches island-wide.
Two branches at Airport Terminal 2 are closed due to renovations work happening now.
“My aim is to save my workers,” Since COVID-19, none of my staff is being retrenched, and I didn’t hire new staff either.
“Some of my Malaysian staff has stopped working because they wanted to go back to their country, thus we hire part timers.”
He also reduced the number of employees in less crowded branches.
But in order to save my workers’ jobs and to increase their productivity level, M. Abdul Malik, 48 years old, move them to the new branches.
“All our workers are experienced and they know what to do.” Rather than my workers losing their jobs or waiting for customers to visit, I started a new branch which has more customers so that they can manage the branch.
He also mentioned about the various subsidies to save jobs such as JSS.
About SGD$200,000 are being used for all the 3 branches.
One of them is the self-ordering kiosk at Tai Seng. This is the company’s new initiative to go digital, as well as, aligned towards the government’s direction.
“We also want to protect staff from having to manage or hold onto money especially during this COVID-19 period”.
When asked what advice to be given to F&B owners, Mr. Abdul Malid said that: “Review company financial stability, reduce overhead costs and lookout for government subsidy can help the company to sustain for 1-2 years.
“Making big profits is now the second most important thing” The most important thing now is how a company can sustain and continue its business during this COVID-19 period.