4 Takeaways From A Hawkerpreneur On Managing Uncertainty Amid COVID-19

Following the onset of the pandemic, the F&B industry has been one of the worst-hit sectors of the economy. With the challenges posed by safety distancing measures, Terry, the co-founder of local eatery Kopifellas, had to think and act fast.

Terry, co-founder of Kopifellas and the eatery’s signature Matcha toast (Source: Kopifellas)

Founded in 2017, Kopifellas has three outlets at Timbre+, Toa Payoh and Beauty World Food Centre. The establishment is testament to Terry’s passion for kopi, who wishes to preserve the local coffee culture. Additionally, Kopifellas’s menu also features a variety of local favourites and beverages with a contemporary twist that caters to the varied palettes of Singaporeans.

From launching an islandwide delivery system to rolling out bubble tea, below are some takeaways (pun intended) from Kopifellas that exemplify how entrepreneurs can, despite the uncertainty, rise above. 

#1 The Necessity Of Adapting To Challenges

Despite keeping its doors open for takeaway orders during circuit breaker, business at Kopifellas, following the decrease in footfall, has taken a hit. Undeterred, Kopifellas quickly adopted an online business model and launched its islandwide delivery service on the second day of circuit breaker.

Offering a $5 flat delivery fee with a minimum order of $12 (min. order has been revised to $15), Terry shares the support Kopifellas has received. “We were surprised and remain grateful for the support. Almost 80% of our customers are regulars, and we’ve been receiving support from a stream of new diners as well.”

Overcome challenges by adapting to the situation, pronto. Preempt potential problems and keep your options open. 

#2 Importance Of Exploring Growth Options

Given its first venture into food delivery, Kopifellas grappled with several challenges – one being the limitations of existing food delivery platforms.

“Existing platforms were unable to cater to areas that are more than 6km away from our stores – something we thought was a pity,” he says.

“To extend our reach, we explored several other non-mainstream options and eventually adopted OLAdeal and EZQR. They may not be as popular, but we prefer the flexibility.”

Putting the menu online (Source: Kopifellas)

Like most establishments, food and drink orders from Kopifellas are placed online. The eatery, however, has taken the ordering system one step further by utilising Whatsapp as an ordering platform. “Whatsapp allows greater flexibility. Given the customisability of our drinks menu, it’s easier for customers to detail their orders through texts,” explains Li Xuan, business developer at Kopifellas.

Every organisation has its unique set of challenges, adopt the solution that best fits the company, as opposed to one that works for most.

Read Also: COVID-19: F&B Operators Are Badly Hit. Here’s What It’s Really Like For A Well-Loved Local Brand

#3 Be Willing To Make Operational Adjustments

With safety-distancing measures in place, F&B outlets will have to make various operational adaptations, Kopifellas included. To cater to the demand for takeaway orders and delivery services, Kopifellas has increased its manpower and extended its operating hours across all outlets. Roles have also been reorganised within the team, with two appointed employees managing online orders and delivery service – a switch from their previous roles as baristas.

Flexibility is key – especially during challenging times like these. Cater to the current needs of the organisations and maximise productivity by making adjustments to your operations.

#4 Seize Opportunities When They Appear

With stalls selling predominantly beverages restricted from operations, many of us have been craving for what can now be seen as the national drink – bubble tea. In catering to our love for the beverage Kopifellas has recently launched its line of bubble tea. Available in honey flavour, the handmade pearls are prepared daily and are available with most tea options. Not only are existing customers enjoying the new addition, the new menu has also attracted new patrons.

Source: @foodiegoh

“We know how much everyone loves bubble tea,” Li Xuan laughs. “Especially during these challenging times, we hope to brighten up our customer’s day with their favourite drink!”

Whether it’s binging on Netflix or thumbing through Instagram, most of us are spending more time online than ever. Sensing the increase in digital consumption, Kopifellas has since expanded its marketing efforts to include a stronger digital presence.

Beyond building an online community, the eatery has also engaged the help of influencers. “We’re grateful for the positive response and have managed to reach out to a wider audience through the influencers,” Li Xuan smiles.

It may be important to stay on top of the key trends in the market, turning them into opportunities is what sets you apart.

Read Also: Entrepreneurship And Management Lessons We Can Learn From Netflix’s Tiger King

New Ways Of Doing Business To Suit A New Way Of Life In Singapore

We hope that Kopifellas’ inspiring story would give you some ideas that you can implement in your own company.

If we’re adaptable, not afraid to change and take decisive action, we’ll give our business the best chance to not just survive amid a difficult time, but perhaps even thrive.

(Header Image: @foodiegoh. Used with permission and appreciation)

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