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F&B industry fetes healthcare professionals


The World Gourmet Summit (WGS) recently rallied 21 F&B establishments to prepare a lunch treat for 1,100 healthcare staff at Sengkang General Hospital in Singapore for five days. The charity drive was to thank health professionals' valuable contribution in helping battle the COVID-19 virus. Healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses were able to enjoy meals from restaurants such as OPIO Kitchen & Bar, Gattopardo, Ginett Restaurant and Shabestan.
Ricky Ng, managing director, Blue Lotus Group, said: "Our healthcare professionals have been working extremely hard to save the lives of those battling the virus. We hope to be able to do our part and show our appreciation to them for keeping us safe.” Ng’s restaurant was one of the F&B establishments that prepared the meals for the health professionals from March 30-April 4.

Gourmet event cancelled
WGS organiser Peter Knipp, CEO of Peter Knipp Holdings, revealed that this year's WGS event, usually held in April would be held in August instead.
“During the SARS outbreak, we were one of the few companies to continue with WGS. We will strive to do the same this year,” Knipp said. “We have postponed the festival and will follow government recommendations and implement the necessary measures to ensure that everyone is safe while having a good time later this year.”
Two months since the outbreak started in Singapore, restaurateurs have seen a drastic drop of as much as 80% in customers, Knipp noted.
While the government has dished out generous incentives, it is still going to be challenging for F&B operators, he said. The F&B industry has always been very volatile, but it is made even more unpredictable with the virus outbreak. Smaller independent operators will be most affected by the epidemic, Knipp said.
However, he observed that F&B establishments which have been consistently serving great food and service would be more likely to be able to weather this storm.

Crisis spurs more delivery and takeaways

Blue Lotus' Ng, on the other hand, said his restaurant is now focussing more on deliveries and takeouts. They have seen a 30-40% increase in delivery/takeout options.
“As people are working from home, they want fast and efficient access to food,” he said. “The restaurant is now focusing more on takeout options. Bento sets have also been added to the restaurant's menu to cater to increasing demand for takeaways.”
During this period, the F&B community is also coming together to support each other, Ng said. “It is a good time to learn and focus on what we need to do during crisis and risk management. Look at what is lacking in our systems and try to improve them so that we can build stronger F&B businesses,” he concluded. (Image: Meals prepared by Opio Kitchen & Bar)

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