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Coronavirus: Some restaurants not reopening after phase one

SINGAPORE – Vianney Massot Restaurant is the first Michelin-starred restaurant here to fall victim to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fine-dining French restaurant in Hongkong Street, which received its star last year, has shuttered for good. It was offering takeaway and delivery in April when dine-in was banned.

Its owners declined to comment on the closure.

The restaurant is named after its chef Vianney Massot, who came to Singapore in 2017 to head the kitchen at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Resorts World Sentosa.

After that restaurant closed in mid-2018, the Frenchman joined the restaurant at Hongkong Street, which was then named Bacchanalia. It was rebranded in March last year.

A slew of other food and beverage establishments have also announced that they will not be reopening when dine-in is allowed again in phase two of Singapore's reopening.

Among them is Tao Seafood, a Thai-Teochew restaurant at Asia Square which closed its doors on May 31.

Owner Adrian Lee said his lease was ending on June 30 and decided in February to give up the six-year-old business because of manpower shortage and rising costs.

He said: "It is getting increasingly difficult to meet the local manpower quotas. Our main chefs and service staff are getting old and it is difficult to replace them with younger local talent, who are less interested in joining a traditional Chinese F&B outlet.

"Also, rising costs and lower expenditures by the corporate sector in the last two years make the future of the restaurant appear dimmer by the day."

Business during that period dropped by about 30 per cent, he said. The Covid-19 pandemic drove the nail into the coffin, with revenue from takeaways and deliveries during the circuit breaker making up only 15 to 20 per cent of what the restaurant used to make.

And prospects for the restaurant, located in the Central Business District, do not look good even when dine-in is allowed again.

Mr Lee said: "With safe distancing and working from home as the new normal, we will be put under even greater pressure, especially as large gatherings in Chinese restaurants will not be possible.

"We can expect the distance between customers to increase by 50 per cent, but rents won't drop by 50 per cent."

Mr Lee will now focus on running fUnRiceSG, a casual rice bowl concept which is also at Asia Square and which serves a few of Tao's signature dishes such as pot-roasted prawns with glass noodles.

The Fabulous Baker Boy, a cafe in River Valley Road known for its cakes, will also not be back. It ceased operations on April 21 when F&B outlets in parks were told to close.

The cafe, which opened in 2012, was located in the former River Valley Swimming Pool at the foot of Fort Canning Hill.

Owner Juwanda Hassim, who was also the chef and baker, said: "We were told just the day before we had to close."

He said he had been doing well before with delivery orders.

Like Mr Lee, his decision to close had been made before the circuit breaker – except that he had intended to move to bigger premises when his lease rRead More – Source