Singaporean netizens reacted to ex-Mediacorp and restaurateur Daniel Ong’s Instagram post appealing for support for his food and beverage business.

In the midst of Singaporean Circuit Breaker measures that have virtually voided the sit-in restaurant model for the meantime, Daniel narrated how difficult coping with the coronavirus outbreak in Singapore was for his restaurants.

On April 3, he posted this shot of one of his restaurants on his Instagram, with a caption describing how the food and beverage industry in Singapore has been faring.

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This was 6pm last night at Rookery Capital tower. ๐Ÿ˜ต These couple of days and weeks have been brutal. ๐ŸฅตBut that is the grim truths for FnB operators everywhere. Especially in the CBD. ๐Ÿ˜ต๐Ÿ˜ต๐Ÿ˜ต Just want to put it out there…Capital land commercial at Capital tower has seen whatโ€™s happened in the CBD and have come to the table with a Two month waiver of basic rent for April and May. ๐ŸŒˆ๐ŸŒˆ For that we are very grateful. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป and we wonโ€™t forget it. Hope all malls follow suit. Will we survive? Maybe, maybe not. We still are open… but losing thousands daily with not much customers… But my team will try. ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป Pls swipe to see our very economical bento boxes for office lunches or dinners for your colleagues! ๐ŸŒˆ You stay safe indoors and not travel… and we will bring the yummy to you! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™๐ŸปPleAse drop us a msg directly for the next day and we will prepare your order for your team! โค๏ธ Super proud of team @rookerysg for banding together. ๐ŸŒˆ๐ŸŒˆ COMING SOON …the rookery take away menu and also the Family feasts for your stay home family unit as well!๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ Pls follow us on INsta and FB please! Support support! @rookerysg Fighting! ๐Ÿ’ช๐ŸปAppreciative for all the love and encouragement from family, friends, fellow biz owners and strangers turned friends. โค๏ธ Spread the love, not the negativity or the virus! #savefnbsg #singapore #restaurants #foodie #delivery #home #staysafe #loveyou #bewell #โค๏ธ #turbulenttimes #family

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He said that the situation in the Central Business District was dire, and Capitaland had allowed a two-month waiver on rent for April to May.

He also posted an earlier photo at the end of March asking for support as business had been bad even then. With companies starting their work-from-home policies as directed by the Singaporean government, people who went to dine in restaurants even during the busy lunch hour dwindled to half.

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Ran outta space…continued… In the coming days, if the government decides to have a no dine in rule for restaurants. Or a shut down of any sorts. Itโ€™s truly game over. For the whole industry. Many have asked me to consider a take away and a online alternative. Ta pau. Truth is, we are in the CBD. Half now work from home. No workers means no sales. Also itโ€™s difficult running a take away biz in a space that costs 25k. And staff that cost 40k. Stall holders rents are much lower to make any sense. But we will try. I owe it to my team to try. The only way now is if thereโ€™s such a measure, that you waive rentals. Cash flow is severely affected. Like all businesses now… like hotels…no sales means we canโ€™t even make ends meet. Pay staff. Or suppliers. We are asking for you to look at us as partners. Giving us a 2-4K discount on a 25k rent really just delays the inevitable. On behalf of all small biz owners in all the malls, and cafes, and commercial buildings. And everyone affected in the service and retail space… Just. Give. Us. A. Chance. When times are good… we pay GTO. On top of rent… weโ€™ve also paid rentals that have doubled or tripled over the years. Itโ€™s a give and take relationship. Can you be on the other side for once? Iโ€™m pleading. Coz past this next few weeks… we are all not going to make it. Defaults at 50% or more. Itโ€™s dire now. And we canโ€™t wait for two weeks for an email reply for you to check with your bosses…we are going down now. Now. We are in this together. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป #sgunited #singapore #covid #savefnbsg #struggling #sinking #help #savejobs #save #singaporeans #staff

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Daniel said that his overhead expenses for one of his restaurants was 25,000 SGD while paying for his staff was 40,000 SGD in a month. He said that, “Itโ€™s dire now. And we canโ€™t wait for two weeks for an email reply for you to check with your bosses…we are going down now. Now.”

A news feature on Chinese publication Lianhe Wanbao related how Daniel wasn’t the only ex-celebrity entrepreneur who was feeling the COVID-19 crunch.

According to Lianhe Wanbao, “Daniel Ong and Chen’s restaurants are the first celebrity-run food and beverage establishments to close down as a result of reduced business.

Daniel had 3 Rookery restaurant outlets initially but was forced to fire 27 staff and close down two outlets in early April. In the same report, he said that if property developers were not going to reduce rent, there was no way that his business would survive beyond 1-2 months.

Daniel continued to say that the decline has been happening since February, and his current situation was only a fifth (or less) of what it was previously. His staff was down to a single digit figure.

He went on further to tell Lianhe Wanbao that he doesn’t think that the industry would bounce back in June when the pandemic is forecast to be over.

Cuts from third party platforms and other new overhead

How much does Daniel pay for his delivery service and presence on third party platforms?

According to the same report, he urged customers to call the restaurant directly to place delivery orders as they only pay a 20% commission for delivery with direct orders. If a customer orders through a third-party platform the cut goes up to 30%.

Netizens react

Singaporeans on Daniel’s Instagram and famous online message board Hardware Zone have weighed in on Daniel Ong’s predicament, and have shared their thoughts.

Most of them referenced his allegedly lavish lifestyle that was quite visible on his social media account. They referenced his posts showing off a Lamborghini interior and a blue car from the same maker, and said that he should sell his car first before he asked for any sort of support.

It was unclear whether the car belonged to Daniel or it was a rental.

Other netizens expressed the same sentiments, especially with how Daniel used to post about his travels on his Instagram account.

Another netizen had this to say about Daniel’s appeal for help and support for his restaurants.

Some netizens were sarcastic in their comments about Daniel’s situation, citing his home and car as assets that may be affected by the crisis.

What do you think of how netizens are reacting to Daniel Ong’s posts? Let us know in the comments!