Loh Lik Peng is Chief Executive Officer, Unlisted Collection
What are the key service/product/operational enhancements and additions Unlisted Collection has introduced to support customers, partners, staff and the community during this period?
One of the first things we did was to have open communication with staff about the challenges we are facing and to get them to rally around a survival strategy. We have pivoted to doing delivery and pick ups and we have engaged our patrons to let them know what we are doing. We have also engaged with other stakeholders like suppliers and landlords to work out a long term plan for ensuring all parties are able to come out of this episode as intact as possible.
Based on the above, why were these changes crucial?
Without the participation of all the key stakeholders and buy in from our staff, our chances of surviving this episode would be heavily diminished. It’s so important for everyone to work together during this period.
How has the response to them been?
By and large it has been productive and we keep the dialogue open. It’s not an easy process and nobody evisaged any game plan for a full shutdown like what we are going through, so this has been a painful process of education for all parties. Overall, we are managing but it’s still a painful adjustment for all concerned.
How else are you preparing for changes in the next few months when restrictions ease and Singapore gradually returns to our regular activities?
We are ensuring that the steps we took early in this process, such as cost optimisation, continue and we are trying to ensure we can navigate the changes to the landscape. We will very likely continue takeouts for a long period of time and we will try to ensure we have multiple and robust income streams in the future. It’s going to be hard to reply on dine-in only for the foreseeable future.
Reflecting on lessons for businesses in Singapore, what is the one main take-away having now dealt with this unprecedented crisis?
The one thing I have observed is that diversification as a strategy isn’t necessarily going to be sufficient in a crisis like this. Having a strong balance sheet is a much more robust strategy. The whole world has more or less shut down simultaneously and it will be a prolonged interruption. Liquidity is very important. If you are overleveraged at the start of this crisis it’s probably game over.
All images are courtesy of Loh Lik Peng