Author’s Propaganda: Every Chinese New Year, my family and I would head to our regular Chinese and Nyonya restaurants for a reunion dinner. Come to think of it, otherwise we really don’t have dinner there unless it’s CNY or for my grandparents’ birthdays.
With only two people allowed to dine per table, these companies known to accommodate large groups struggle hard.
Up to 80% drop In sales
When the shutdown was first announced in 2020, the Eastern Group scrambled to adapt digitally. They developed on their own Delivery platform It acts as a center for order, payment, and delivery. Plus, all of its 14 outlets are on GrabFood as well.
Despite this, the group told Vulcan Post that even before the start of MCO, they had already seen a significant drop in revenue since CNY 2020. That was compared to the 2019 numbers.
“In 2019, sales of the Chinese yuan (which lasted 30 days) contributed nearly 19% of our annual profits.“ It included crowds reuniting for an annual dinner for both ceremonial and social occasions, ”said Lin, of the group’s marketing and PR department.
The same can be said of the 6-decade-old Hakka Restaurant. Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle, the restaurant could accommodate hundreds of diners in the pre-pandemic time.
The third-generation owner and manager, Danny Chung, told Vulcan Post that the closings and a shortage of tourists have drastically affected the business.
With restrictions on the number of people per table, many choose not to eat in our restaurants, especially because Chinese food is best eaten in a group at a round table to eat a variety of dishes.
Danny Chung, owner and manager of Hakka Restaurant.
Being a smaller company compared to the Eastern Group, offering delivery services through DeliverEats and fast food via their social media was all they could do.
Even with the Chinese Yuan bundles this year, Hakka Restaurant still suffered an 80% drop in acquisitions as of February 11, 2021. This paired with one day of CNY’s reunion dinner before MCO, contributing 1% of their total annual earnings.
But adapting to takeaway and delivery also relates to overtime for kitchen and front-of-house staff.
Takeaway operations require different functional scope as a great deal of attention and care has to be given towards food handling and packaging. Then it comes to logistics and making sure that customers receive their orders at their best.
“We had to market ourselves differently: Our kitchen is also suitable for fast food because our primary business has always been around restaurants due to the diverse nature of our menu,” Lin said.
Hence, the Eastern Group introduced its specific menus in Chinese currency that could cater to 2-10 people at home. For those who live far from family, they offer Individual Dim Sum (RM38 / RM88) bento boxes and gift packs as seasonal items.
For simplicity’s sake, they have a bundle kit that includes the classic Yi Sang, Radish bun Nian Gao Comes in a branded warmer bag (RM398).
Meanwhile, Hakka Restaurant has made 4 CNY packages that come in 4-5 courses. They feature traditional festive dishes to feed 4-8 people, ranging from RM168 to RM538.
Chinese cuisine has one of the most prevalent menus in the food and beverage industry with unique service standards. During the inevitable conditions of the pandemic, teams had to be versatile in implementing new missions to improve takeaway standards.
Rigorous training, education, research and development has been employed between the kitchen and front of the home crews, all to ensure that their new nature remains identical to the quality of the catering service.
However, what Chinese restaurants may face is persuading Malaysians to buy Chinese yuan packages in the first place. For some families (including mine) the cost effective approach is DIY.
For example, you can purchase prepackaged Yi Sang Boxes of under RM40 as a base and add your own proteins like salmon. This can actually feed up to 10 people.
When it comes to the traditional Bun Choi, There are affordable canned abalone and mushrooms sold in grocery stores, too.
Of course, not everyone is ready to make efforts to create a family feast. This is where CNY restaurant packages will come in handy for a fast, stress-free home reunion dinner.
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Oriental Group and Hakka Restaurant are only two out of many Chinese restaurants battling this Chinese yuan. Those of us who can support local food and drink restaurants could consider doing so, in order to ensure our favorite venues remain open for next year’s RMB reunion dinner and more.
By then, we hope on the Vulcan Post that the pandemic is a thing of the past as well.
“No industry is immune to this pandemic and there is no predictable timeframe for its end – every company is struggling for the survival and livelihoods of those who get paid. Loneliness is the key to economic survival,” Lin concluded.
minimum: Although the two-seater dinner is allowed again, it is still long time before the food and beverage industry has recovered and reaches pre-pandemic numbers again. With WFH helps us reduce costs With regard to food and other services, we can periodically lend a hand to our local business, regardless of the industry.
- You can learn more about the Eastern Group HereAnd Hakka Restaurant Here.
- You can read about other MCO related topics Here.
Featured Image Credit: Oriental Group / Hakka Restaurant