Singapore F&B industry group seeks rental rebates to ride out Covid-19 storm

THE Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS) has asked major landlords for support to tide its members over this difficult period when they have seen as much as 80 per cent drop in sales amid the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

The food and beverage (F&B) association told media on Thursday it had sent written requests early this week to 24 landlords, seeking rental rebates to help them cope with the sharp decline in business.

Jewel Changi was the first to respond, offering a 50 per cent rental rebate for February and March, after which Jewel Changi will review the situation.

RAS hopes that other landlords may follow suit, given that rental coupled with labour costs make up about 55 per cent of operating costs. Without immediate help, closures of outlets will be imminent, it said.

In the meantime, some RAS members have either put staff on unpaid leave or stopped calling their part-timers in for work.

RAS has also held dialogues with the government in hopes of assistance to alleviate their labour costs.

The F&B association has more than 450 members, representing close to 700 brands that operate over 3,600 outlets, according to the RAS website. Its members include restaurants, caterers, fast food outlets and food courts.