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.
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.
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, “It’s dire now. And we can’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%.
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!