This week we said our online goodbyes to Ben’s Cookies, who will be shuttering its last Singapore outlet at Wisma Atria.
Many even went down to buy the cookies and show their support.
The closure of this F&B outlet is just another of a string of many other F&B outlets that have closed shop due to the pandemic, which kept many people at home and ordering food online.
We take a look at the many eateries that have been put out of business since the start of this year.
Swee Kee Eating House
The zi char firm which has been at Amoy Street for over 26 years has closed its doors on May 30, 2021. Its Cantonese-style fish soup shop has a history of more than 80 years.
The eating house cited rising operating costs as the main challenge.
In a Facebook post, the eatery said that the challenges of Covid-19 and a CBD location have proven too much and too challenging for the business to “sustain with continued monthly losses in this current climate”.
The eatery’s Greenwood and Outram outlets remain open.
Singapore instituted a one-month ban on dine-ins in May, triggered by a rise in Covid-19 community cases. Working from home then became the default, causing many F&B operators in the CBD to struggle with a lack of orders.
Yan Kee Noodle House
Well known to CBD workers and clubbers, the eatery shut its doors in July, 2021.
The eatery, located along Circular Road, is most famous for its dry bak chor mee sua. It has been around since 2008.
According to a customer who spoke to the eatery, the shop representative said it has closed its original location but it may reopen somewhere else when Covid-19 settles.
We say goodbye to its reasonably priced comfort food and noodles costing around $3 to $5 a bowl.
Popular chain Omakase Burger, known for its American-style gourmet smashed beef burgers is closing all outlets in Singapore. Its last operating day will be on October 27, 2021.
It posted on social media saying that it is with “great sadness” that it will be closing its flagship outlet at Orchard Central, and four other pop-up outlets at Bukit Timah, Bedok, East Coast, and One-North.
That’s after nine years of great memories and millions of burgers sold.
The business is being put on hiatus due to Covid-19.
“This is not goodbye. It’s see you later, my friend.”
The burger chain will be going into “hibernation” and reopen at an unspecified date, its owner Cheng Hsin Yao told 8days.
Thai Pan Restaurant
The 18-year-old zi char store located within Mandarin Gardens condominium served its last customer on June 30, 2021.
A rising cost and a dip in footfall caused the owner to shutter the business, according to Shin Min Daily News.
The business was unable to cope with the economic impact of Covid-19. It had negotiated for lower rental over the past two years but poor business led owner Yang to decide to close.
The restaurant is best known for its butter squid and fried rice.
The brunch restaurant located along Purvis Street closed its doors shortly after opening in February 2020. It announced the closure on Facebook in May, 2021.
Although it was able to tide over the Circuit Breaker last year, the heightened alert and prolonged period of restrictions caused it to lose footfall and contributed to slow sales.
We say goodbye to its spring chicken and pancake and sideways omelette.
The business has since pivoted to a bakery that is online delivery focused.
The 24-year-old Indonesian restaurant decided to close the business in May, 2021, in view of the expiration of its lease.
In a Facebook post, the team shared that they made the decision “not to continue operating”.
The restaurant gave no further reasons for the sudden shut-down other than its lease reaching an end, but many customers suspect the reason to be pandemic driven.
Rice Table thanked all the staff and regular customers who kept the business alive over the years in the Facebook post.
Located at International Building along Orchard Road, the well-known Indonesian restaurant sold comfort food including tahu telor, grilled chicken, coconut curry vegetables, and beef rendang.
Situated at Balmoral Plaza, the homegrown family restaurant shuttered after 21 years of operations on May 2, 2021.
The closure was due to rental problems.
The business is known for simple and affordable waffles, for example, its fried chicken and waffles combo which costs S$6.50.
Their waffles are usually paired with sausages, eggs, or ice cream.
It was a popular hangout and study spot for students from schools in the vicinity, such as Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road), St. Joseph’s Institution, and Singapore Chinese Girls’ School.
The three-year-old retro snack and arcade bar that pays homage to all things ‘80s has closed for good.
In a statement issued by nightlife operator A Phat Cat Collective, it attributed the closure to “more unforeseen disruptions and even more mounting COVID restrictions for pivoted nightlife”.
“It seems less and less viable and even harder for us to continue further. It is with great sadness that we have decided to close.”
The nightclub-turned-diner had to close suddenly for two weeks in July when the directive came to shut all nightlife establishments operating as F&B businesses.
The measure came after a Covid-19 cluster linked to several KTV lounges was believed to have breached rules after converting to F&B operations. The announcement was said to have affected more than 400 operators.
The diner had tried to pivot with island-wide deliveries, but the prolonged impact of low footfall due to more working from home finally caused the business to shut for good.
Located next to Nineteen80 along Tanjong Pagar Road, the restaurant and cocktail bar that played house and disco music has also closed.
It is the sister bar of Nineteen80 and had faced the same plight due to ongoing challenges and disruptions of operating a bar due to the nightlife pandemic-driven restrictions that were imposed.
Originally a bar and dance club set to open in April 2020, the short-lived restaurant had finally opened as a bar and lounge in February 2021.
Grub Burger Bistro
The bistro located within Bishan-Ang Mo Kio park has been there for nine years. It will be moving out by January next year.
Grub said that its lease would not be renewed next year. The team is coming to terms with the shock and the sad realisation that the space in the park will no longer be their shop.
Grub said it had built the restaurant from an empty patch of land.
The group is actively searching for a place it can potentially relocate to, but it did not specify where and when. The management said that the current priority at the moment is to ensure that its crew is taken care of.
The popular cookie business is exiting Singapore after seven years. It will close its Wisma Atria outlet on October 11, 2021.
This follows the closure of its outlet at Northpoint City on July 18, 2021.
The brand, established in 1983, is well known for its “world-famous cookies”. It sells freshly-baked cookies of over 20 varieties, including double chocolate and nuts.
After its Singapore exit, the nearest Ben’s Cookies outlets will be located in Bangkok.
Covid-19 impact frustrating and disappointing many F&B firms
Eateries have been mostly impacted by the various Covid-19 safety measures – efforts put in place to curb the community spread of the virus.
The most recent measure – a two-person dining-in rule that lasts for a month starting September 27, 2021 – has caused a big stir of frustrations and disappointments within the F&B industry.
An eatery complained that revenue fell by 60 per cent the last time a two-person rule was implemented. Many operators also cited rent as a major pain point.
The government has stepped in to raise the Jobs Support Scheme level to 25 per cent from September 27th to October 24th.
It is also providing a two-week rental waiver for qualifying tenants on government-owned commercial properties.
Qualifying tenant-occupiers and owner-occupiers of privately-owned commercial properties will get a two-week rental relief cash payout under the Rental Support Scheme.
Featured Image Credit: Brands’ Facebook and Instagram screengrabs, Google Maps