Retrenched RWS Chef’s New Zi Char Shop On Brink Of Closure After Dine-In Ban
Just as things picked up at the 8-month-old kiosk he helms solo, he suffered an 80% dip in biz with P2HA.
It has been almost a year since the pandemic threw Kelvin Lim’s life into the air like confetti. Last July, he was retrenched by Resorts World Singapore, where he spent two years as chef de cuisine of Hard Rock Hotel’s Sessions restaurant, which is temporarily closed. To make ends meet, the 41-year-old started working part-time at various hawker stalls and restaurants before he was approached by an ex-RWS colleague about setting up an eatery.
“He found this unit and asked if I’m interested in running an eatery with him,” Kelvin tells us in mandarin, referring to his current location in the sleepy City Plaza mall, Geylang. “I thought I’d give it a shot, and we signed a one-year rental lease last October.” They each invested $15k into the modest 30-seater kiosk named Chiderful (loosely translated from its Chinese name, which means “it’s a blessing to eat”) that sells Ipoh-style chicken rice and zi char dishes.
Three months later, his “good friend” and partner bailed on him. “Business was not good at the beginning. It was impossible to pay ourselves any salary and we were making a loss every month. My partner decided to pull out of the biz in January.”
After recovering from the shock of this curveball, Kelvin decided to press on. “I took over the lease and viewed it as a challenge: Am I able to run a restaurant all by myself?”
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