We’ve all been affected by the Covid-19 situation, though thanks to having had a 7-year head start in pivoting my business online, any impact on my bottom line has been minimal. (If you’ve followed me long enough you’d know that I quit my restaurant and subsequently most of my market operations when my special needs child Noah came home from the hospital in 2013.)
While I’m doing okay, I can’t help but process the unfolding situation with lockdowns and curfews through the lens of a former restaurateur, and as someone who used to employ overseas Malaysian students.
Which is why when my friend David Cheah, who’s an admin of the Melbourne Cari Makan (Melbourne Food Hunt) Facebook Group, put a callout to help feed overseas students who’ve lost their jobs due to Covid-19, I took notice.
The Melbourne Cari Makan group has over 13,000 members, some of whom happen to be Malaysian restaurant owners. When David found out that overseas Malaysian students in Melbourne were having to go without bare necessities, he reached out to his community to help sponsor a meal for them at participating Malaysian eateries.
As a former owner-chef of a Malaysian restaurant, I know that even in good times, the margins are slim to none.
Which makes it even more incredible that the restaurateurs in the group did not just answer the call to help out but that they went beyond what was asked of them. Despite doing it tough in this lockdown climate, many of these restaurants agreed to bear any shortfall in meal donations.
Some of theses restaurateurs were once overseas students themselves, so they knew what it must be like to be stuck in a foreign country with no financial means and no way to return to their home countries.