Here is an insider report from Shri. This year we celebrate 10 years and I pray that we will make it to 11 years. It is that bad. We lost 60-70% of our business and guests. And the curve is just continuing going down and the worst thing is that other venues in HCMC are even in worse state than us. I am worried that the whole hospitality sector will have such a huge setback that it will take years to repair. Following in the footsteps of declining business and closure is all the people who are losing their jobs with a devastating impact on families without any other means of income and no savings.
For us at Shri we decided to cut everyone’s wages and encourage unpaid leave to enable us to keep all the staff. I am so proud of all the staff, not a single person (of 65 employees) opposed or resigned despite this decision. We gave the smallest cut to low salary and highest to the people who earn more. Everyone is supporting each other and despite the fact we do not know what is going to happen in the future there are still a lot of smiles and laughter. It is a joy to go to work and meet the “family” but there have been days when I cried thinking of what this crisis would lead to, not for me personally but for everyone that works at Shri. They have really become my family away from my family. I came here 2.5 years ago to work and discover my fatherland and my heritage, what I learned is that Vietnamese people are the coolest people on the planet, no need for panic, always support each other, open minded and willingness to learn and explore and they have great sense of humour. Now I know where I got it from! 😉 We joke sometimes it is only ½ foreigner working at Shri.
Recently I booked a ticket to Sweden (I am Swedish/Vietnamese) to go and celebrate my grandmother’s 100 year anniversary but I decided I cannot go due to the coronavirus and I don’t want to take the risk of becoming effected and risk other people both during my travel, my visit in Sweden and upon my return and I would have to be isolated for two weeks coming back. It is not worth it and my help is better needed here with my other family. And by the way my grandmother is now isolated with no visitors allowed so I would not have seen here anyway.
Due to the restrictions in hospitality and the ban for bars and clubs to be open we had to cancel all our events including a regular comedy night with Saigon Funny people, movie screening, live entertainment on the terrace, Library – our secret socialite pop up bar with live performer and music, pop up DJ night with the guys from FLOW and BLOCKS an open DJ Battle for inspiring talent in Saigon. All this was going to lead up to our 10 th anniversary party in April but now we have to move it to September/October given that the epidemic will decline. Our plan for our 10 th anniversary was to introduce more of entertainment, music, art and design and we planned to do a small renovation allowing us to have live entertainment in our lounge and open up the lounge to the terrace. Now we do not know if any of this will happen but we are working hard to come back stronger than ever. At the moment we concentrate to save everyone’s job and survive this crisis.
We are lucky to have our open air terrace, people seem to prefer open spaces outside rather than enclosed indoor spaces. But as rainy season are upon us I worry about further losses in terms of guests and revenue. We are taking every precaution we can to ensure safety for our staff as well as our guests. We are disinfecting the whole restaurant and have strict health control of our staff and together with the building minimizing the risk of spreading the virus. In the end of the day we have to comply with what the experts tell us to do and I just hope we can all come together (not physically!) and overcome this crisis. Vietnam are strong and hopefully we all come back stronger than before. In that case it will be a team effort! We now decided to close the restaurant for two weeks following the guidelines of the Vietnamese Government.
We want everyone to be safe and help Vietnam to deal with COVID-19 and minimize the risk. Hopefully we will see you in two weeks time!