askST@NLB Podcast: New normal in restaurant dining during Covid-19 pandemic

Western restaurant LeVeL33 at the Marina Bay Financial Centre. In our podcast, we discuss how the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the food and beverage landscape in Singapore. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

askST @ NLB Ep 4: New normal in restaurant dining during Covid-19 pandemic

29:06 mins

Synopsis: This is the fourth episode of the askST @ NLB podcast series brought to you by the National Library Board. The monthly talks by The Straits Times correspondents were previously held at the Central Public Library but due to Covid-19 safe distancing measures, we are converting the sessions into a podcast series done remotely.

Listen to the correspondents you follow, more intimately, through our podcasts.

For this episode, The Straits Times' senior food correspondent Wong Ah Yoke invites his guest - hotelier-restaurateur Loh Lik Peng - who owns the Unlisted Collection of restaurants such as Zen, Burnt Ends, Majestic Restaurant and Meatsmith.

They discuss the new normal in restaurant dining and how the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the food and beverage landscape in Singapore:

1. How are restaurants working within the new rules, to improve the experience? (2:00)

2. How can small restaurants still make money, especially those with cramped spaces that seemed in vogue during pre-Covid times? (3:17)

3. What to consider now if you are considering opening a restaurant in this Covid-19 pandemic? (6:15)

4. Which foods suit delivery better? (8:25)

5. How islandwide delivery changes the game for both diners and restaurants (10:30)

6. How can restaurants be sustainable, balancing manpower and 7-day work weeks, while juggling dine-in and delivery revenue streams? (14:30)

We tackle selected readers' questions: (17:30 onwards)

1. From ST reader Mdm Tang Wen Yu: "Post-Covid-19 and the looming recession, is there wiggle room for fine dining? How do you cater to the few with lots of money to spend on food, without coming across as insensitive?"

2. From reader Mr Victor Lim: "In your opinion, did Phase Two come too soon, before F&B players were ready? Have the authorities done well?"

3. From another reader Ms Teresa Chen: "Presently, only a group of five from different households are allowed to dine together. This does not cater to families with more than three children. I understand the need to limit but if it is the immediate nuclear family (parents and children all living together in the same household), there is no reason not to let the whole family dine together."

4. From reader Ms Baoxuan: "What is the most underrated local produce used in restaurants today? What do you project for the farm-to-fork movement in our Singapore restaurant scene?"

Look out for the next episode of askST @ NLB podcast series on July 17 and you can submit advance questions now: str.sg/JW9R

Download NLB mobile app: go.nlb.gov.sg/nlbmobile

NLB Website: https://www.nlb.gov.sg

Produced by: Wong Ah Yoke (ahyoke@sph.com.sg) & Ernest Luis

Edited by: Adam Azlee

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