Singapore — A member of the family running Founder Bak Kut Teh has made an appeal to the public for help to turn the business around.
A second-generation owner of the restaurants, Mr Nigel Chua, wrote a post on both Facebook and Instagram on Wednesday (July 15) that the 42-year-old business is on the brink of closure.
He said: “Founder Bak Kut Teh will be shutting down if the situation doesn’t get better in the next 2 months. It has been a really good 42 years… but the truth is, we might not make it for the many more 42 years to come.”
Mr Chua said: “We have been around for 42 years since 1978. This is the most difficult crisis we have ever met. For the last 5 months, our sales have dropped tremendously by over 85%. If we don’t turn around in the next 2 months, we will need to shut down.”
“We sincerely seek your support to save our brand, the jobs of our employees and our heritage,” he added.
He also appealed to customers to share the post, promising that it will “serve you with our very best”.
Mr Chua’s appeal received promises of support from some of his regular customers.
However, not everyone was so understanding. In fact, some were downright insulting.
Others suggested that they downsize their business, close their other locations and just keep their flagship outlet in Balestier Road.
At the beginning of the Covid-19 circuit breaker measures, Mr Chua decided to close outlets that catered to tourists but he still paid his staff at least 85 per cent of their salaries. His family was hopeful that when the measures were lifted, business would quickly pick up. That has not happened.
Mr Chua said: “My dad was elated, grinning from to ear, and gleefully headed down to the restaurant in the wee hours to prepare the aromatic bak kut teh broth himself. We were hopeful that the situation would turn for the better. But we were wrong.”
And despite the restaurant’s efforts to keep business running in the middle of the pandemic, which it has mostly done through deliveries and takeaway, the restaurant has continued to struggle. Mr Chua shared: “Even now, we continue to walk into our empty restaurants with no diners in sight.”
The restaurant, which was opened in 1978 by Nigel’s father, Mr Chua Chwee Whatt, has made a name for itself due to its signature pork rib dish.
If it is not able to bring back customers with its promises of discounts and the “very best” service, it might close its doors for the last time.
See their Facebook post below.