Unless it’s a franchise, many small businesses aren’t going to make out alive from this Covid-19 pandemic. For businesses like bubble tea shops, there’s no escaping out of it.
Despite the streets of SS15 in Subang Jaya buzzing with long queues of boba tea lovers last year, shops who had to endure weeks of closure from the Movement Control Order (MCO) have suffered a huge loss.
What was hailed as the “boba street”, the once bustling area is now barren and quiet. Whale Tea and The Black Boss have put up their bubble tea shops for rent or sale. It looks like more F&B stores will follow the same fate.
“These are the wave business when it’s high just follow the wave. Cyber cafes, bubble tea, hipster cafe all similar businesses always will fade by years,” Facebook user Chandra Prakash Veerajh commented. Robin Ooi added, “Can’t blame it on Covid-19 though, I lived at that area and the business isn’t as good as before after some time. Maybe the trend isn’t there anymore i guess?”
Instagram user @saint.rafik brought up a good point, “A lot of people seeing this as just bubble tea with comments such as ‘no more diabetes’, ‘good riddance’, ‘non essential’, ‘Finally, no more traffic’, But what you don’t realise is that this was some people’s source of income. Not just the owner, but the workers in there too, and before you think they made a lot of money with the one store, they didn’t. Owning one successful store doesn’t mean too much because products are cheap and you still need to pay off workers, rent, etc. You only start making real money when you own multiple and you can scale down costs easy.”
Keith Kuang posted a video on his Facebook page, showing the closure of several shops at SS15. “When reality strikes. I see millions of dollars drained out, I see the disappointment of business owners. I see sadness, I see the lost of hope. At the same time, I see the possibility of reshaping the ecosystem here. I see the stabilising of the demand and not speculation. I choose to see hope. The wave is neither cruel nor merciful, face it with no judgement, adjust our mentality and start to adapt to the new normal and may all businesses strive again,” he wrote.
Hopefully some of these shops will be able to resume business once MCO is lifted.