MOS Burger announced that it would be closing 8 of its stores from 22 July to 18 August 2021 on its Facebook page. Given that Singapore will be reverting back into Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) measures during this period, we thought there could be some things we could learn from this.
#1 If A Big Chain Such As MOS Burger Cannot Keep Some Stores Open, Small F&B Players May Be Much Worse Off
While MOS Burger isn’t as big as McDonald’s or KFC, it’s not a small brand with a chain of 47 outlets in Singapore. MOS Burger also has international backing with over 1,700 stores in Asia Pacific.
If such a big brand cannot hold all its stores open despite the government’s $1.1 billion support package during this latest tightening measure, it’s hard to think that smaller F&B players are faring any better. In fact, it’s easy to think that smaller F&B players are likely suffering a lot more.
#2 Not All “Affected Businesses” (Even Within The Same Sector) Are Suffering Equally
MOS Burger has not elected to temporarily shut all of its stores. Looking at the locations that it has shut, we can clearly see that certain locations are suffering worse than others. This probably applies to other F&B businesses, as well as a majority of other businesses in these locations.
Locations that MOS Burger has temporarily shut:
- China Square (central)
- Great World Mall (central)
- JEM (west)
- Marina Bay Financial Centre (central)
- Marina One (central)
- Republic Plaza (central)
- SGH Housemen Canteen (central)
- The Centrepoint (central)
7 of the 8 stores that it has closed is in the central region. This shows that many F&B businesses within these regions may be affected much worse than similar businesses in the heartland. However, they are receiving the same amount of targeted support.
Targeted support for business sectors is one way to differentiate businesses that are affected more badly. However, F&B establishments in heartland locations can still access a catchment for deliveries and takeaway. Some central locations may not even be able to access this pool of customers.
While F&B businesses are currently receiving the most in targeted government support, a question of whether all of them are really worse off than retail outlets or entertainment outlets in central locations arises? I.e. a centrally located retail store VS an F&B establishment located in the heartlands.
#3 Central Locations May Continue To Be Hit By 100% Work-From-Home
MOS Burger temporarily shut down 8 of its outlets because of “a low percentage of take-away and delivery”. 7 out of 8 of these 8 store closures are in the central region – likely targeting lunchtime and dinnertime crowd made up of office workers.
Since 100% work-from-home has been around since early May 2021, these businesses would have already been suffering since then. Even when dine-in resumes (hopefully) after 18 August 2021, a lack of office workers will continue to affect businesses in certain central locations far more badly.
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