42-year-old Bak Kut Teh store appeals for help to stay open

At left, owner Chua Chwee Whatt brews the broth. Chua and his son, at right. Photos: Founder Bak Kut Teh
At left, owner Chua Chwee Whatt brews the broth. Chua and his son, at right. Photos: Founder Bak Kut Teh

Owners of the popular Founder Bak Kut Teh store are pleading for public support to save their business from closing in the next two months. 

The homegrown brand that has served celebrities including Taiwanese pop singers Jay Chou and Jam Hsiao, as well as Hong Kong actor Chow Yun Fat, said the COVID-19 pandemic will put it out of business if sales continue to decline.

“This is the most difficult crisis we have ever met. For the last 5 months, our sales have dropped tremendously by over 85%. If we don’t turn around in the next 2 months, we will need to shut down,” Nigel Chua, son of the owner Chua Chwee Whatt, said in an online post yesterday. 

“We sincerely seek your support to save our brand, the jobs of our employees and our heritage.” 

The franchise specializing in pork rib broth has been operating for 42 years with outlets at Bugis and Downtown East as well as globally in China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Taiwan.

Since the outbreak in January, sales from the takeaway and delivery orders and the reopening of their stalls during the second phase of the circuit breaker period were not enough to sustain the business. He did not mention whether the overseas business would be affected. 

“We have been keeping our business afloat by relying on takeaway and deliveries since the outbreak of Covid-19, but our efforts are still insufficient,” Chua wrote.

“We were hopeful that the situation would turn for the better. But we were wrong. Even now, we continue to walk into our empty restaurants with no diners in sight. In our 42 years of business, these few months are the most tiring, trying and difficult,” he added.

They will be offering discounted family set menus from Friday to Aug 17.

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