The other day, I managed to speak with Barry Witcharut, an F&B owner who managed to miraculously double his sales during Covid-19. He started off a humble hawker at Bukit Merah View Hawker Centre to an entrepreneur handling food court stalls and restaurants under the name, JJ Thai Cuisine. Read on to find out more about how you can do the same.
In the past, Barry and I both agreed that running an F&B was a matter about real estate. The real competition lies in where you set up your physical store. If it was in a place with great human traffic, then you'd get the bulk of the business. Compared to a shop in an alley that is often overlooked, the shop right in front of an MRT station was less likely to fold.
But, what happens if human traffic everywhere decreased?
This is exactly what happened during Covid-19. People chose to self-quarantine. Entertainment and non-essential services were suspended. No more bubble tea! Would this spell the end for most F&B businesses?
Think about it. Everyone's at home. Start making your presence known online. Take your phone camera, shoot a video and post it online. Create content online.
The thing about your presence online is that human traffic doesn't matter. As long as you put yourself out there, you have a chance to reach anybody. Send food to influencers. Get them to feature you and soon people will come to you.
Make no mistake, Barry and I are just as shy as you are. It's not easy being in front of the camera, we agree. However, when you're forced up a wall. Do you really have any choice?
The thing about personal branding is, it's entirely up to you and can mostly be done from home. And the best part of all is, it's permanent. Think about why everything Kim Kardashian sells gets sold out. It's her brand.
Think About Cashflow
At this point in time, if you're still worrying about profit, you should stop.
Nobody should be thinking about profit because it's not a feat that just anyone can achieve. Start thinking about your cashflow and in that momentum, should you start making profit, good for you. If not, focus on cashflow.
Your main goal really is to prevent your restaurant from folding. The lockdown is not going to last forever, you see. Accumulate people's frustrations of being unable to taste your food and entice them to deliver your food. When they do, they'll think "Wow, I think it would be really nice to have a meal there with my friends. Maybe when this lockdown is over!"
And there, you have it. But for now, cashflow, cashflow, cashflow!
Promote your Partners
If you're an F&B, you're most probably working with food delivery platforms like Grab or FoodPanda. You might even have some sort of frustration with them.
I understand, you're struggling and yet they want to raise service fees and decrease commissions. However, this is not the time to have petty fights. They are your partners, not your competitor or your enemy. Don't be afraid to pump some marketing dollars into them. You see, they need money too and if you two work together, I don't see why there wouldn't be a win-win situation.
Once you show them that you have harnessed a certain following, they will be more than happy to help you.