I’ve done all I can but without more help only big players will outlast the coming wave of closures

I was speaking to my kitchen manager trying to figure out how much chicken curry to make the next day when a customer walked in, wrapped up head to toe in protective gear, wearing a scarf tightly wound around her face, sunglasses, hat and gloves. This was the first day of my new restaurant, Nasi, opening, and it was a sign of things to come.

I’d opened Nasi – Malaysian for rice – as a smaller takeaway cafe to complement my restaurant, Sambal Shiok Laksa Bar. Four days later, straight after the prime minister’s announcement of lockdown, I closed them both down voluntarily, to protect the health of my team, my family and my customers. I was unable to furlough any of my newest team members as they had joined after the government’s cut-off point. I was taking away their livelihoods – the feeling was horrendous.

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