Adapt or die. There isn’t a more appropriate adage for businesses in these times than Charles Darwin’s theory in The Origin of Species. And no group has been galvanised to do so as quickly as hawkers in Singapore. As kopitiams become ghost towns and queues call to mind pathogen playgrounds rather than palate parties, stallholders are being forced to change their ways of working to survive — even those running famous shops, which haven’t had to chase after business in years. 

Many of these household names — that have never had a website, never mind an e-commerce system — are scrambling to move online and offer takeaways and deliveries in a bid to win back some semblance of business as it was pre-Covid. Chris Wong, the third-generation owner of Kok Sen Restaurant — the Michelin Bib Gourmand award-winning zi char institution where it used to be impossible to get a table for dinner even if you turned up as early as 6pm — says business has “dropped a lot” since people stopped going out. “So like that lor, no choice we have to start islandwide delivery and use social media.” 

*Information correct at press time. All photos cannot be reproduced without permission.

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