The pandemic was undeniably tough on the F&B industry in 2020. Many businesses had to pivot to keep their operations running, but pivoting doesn’t always guarantee survival.
Even well-loved and known F&B brands with loyal and supportive fanbases were unable to keep up with the uncertainties of the year, and closed down.
From our research, we found 6 such F&B businesses in Malaysia. While their closures may leave fans upset, there are similar competitors to turn to, and Malaysians can also expect to see some better things coming in store for them in the F&B scene.
1. Delicious Group
The umbrella F&B group included the restaurants D’Lish, Botanical and Reunion Chinese Restaurant, DISH, and Simply D.
Sadly, after 2 decades of operations since its start, the Delicious Group had to cease operations completely, according to their Facebook post in June 2020.
Their departure from the F&B scene would make more room for other competitors to fill. Some of the names we may see take over in its absence are:
- Serai Group which houses Serai, Jibby & Co., Jibby By The Park etc.
- Brickhouse Group which houses Pokok.KL, Daun.KL, etc.
- The BIG Group which houses Ben’s, Plan B, etc.
These F&B groups also have eateries that curate similar menus to Delicious Group’s: a mixture of Malaysian food, Asian fusion food, and Western food.
Families that frequented restaurants under the Delicious Group could check out restaurants from these groups instead if they’re craving a similar menu.
2. Ben & Jerry’s
Unilever PLC, the company that owns Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s, shared a 13% drop in the 3rd quarter this year for their out-of-home ice cream sales but a 16% increase of its at-home ice cream sales, according to Wall Street Journal.
Seeing the increase in their at-home ice cream sales, it’s understandable why Ben & Jerry’s Malaysia opted to close the Scoop Shop.
The brand isn’t pulling out of Malaysia completely, and it’s still available for purchase online, so we may see them make a comeback in with another Scoop Shop someday.
However, in the meantime, local ice cream brands like Inside Scoop, Sangkaya, and Créme De La Créme will have one less international brand to worry about apart from Baskin Robbins, Häagen-Dazs, and Cold Stone Creamery.
3. dal.komm Coffee
The first dal.komm Coffee store was launched in Damansara Utama in November 2014 and has opened 6 outlets in Malaysia since then.
While they didn’t release an official statement about their current status of operations in Malaysia, Google shows that their Genting, Damansara and IOI outlets are permanently closed, whereas their KLCC and Plaza Arkadia outlets are temporarily closed.
I also tried calling all their outlets, but the numbers were no longer in service. Furthermore, their Malaysian Facebook pages have been wiped of their past posts.
So for the time being, it’s safe to assume that they’re no longer in operation until further notice. If confirmed, their closure could ease the competition of other South Korean coffee chains in Malaysia like Coffee Coffee and Caffé Bene.
4. Signature Fei Fei Crab Restaurant
From the list so far, desserts businesses appear to be more susceptible to COVID-19’s effects, but family restaurants haven’t fared much better, as we saw with Delicious Group.
Signature Fei Fei Crab restaurant, a well-known Chinese seafood place in Kepong, took it to their Facebook to announce that their “business has failed”, hence the closure of all their outlets in Malaysia.
Their last day of operations was on August 31, 2020 at 11PM, when they officially signed off from the F&B industry and took down their Facebook page, according to Hype MY.
An important thing to note is that Signature Fei Fei Crab and Fei Fei Crab are two separate companies, and Fei Fei Crab will still be operating as usual.
Chinese seafood restaurants specialising in crab dishes too like Mei Keng Fatt Seafood Restaurant, Crab Generation, and Hokkaido Seafood Restaurant could find themselves having Signature Fei Fei Crab’s share of patrons soon.
Previously a factory producing industrial yarn seals for 30 years, this space was taken over by the WhupWhup team to build a cafe and an event space.
Their space is over 10,000 sqft., which made it possible for them to host all kinds of big events like weddings, launches, concerts, screenings, exhibitions, fashion shows, and more.
After 4 and a half years, the WhupWhup team announced its permanent closure in a Facebook post on May 11, 2020, but laid no blame on the pandemic.
6. Maiu Japanese Restaurant
Located in Sri Petaling, Maiu was a restaurant serving fusion Japanese food that catered to local tastebuds.
While they didn’t release an official statement of their closure, their restaurant on Google is labelled as permanently closed.
Their last Facebook post was also on May 30, 2020, and since they used to post several times a month at least, this inactivity leads us to believe that they’re no longer operating, at least for now.
While saddening, Sri Petaling’s hub of over 10 other Japanese restaurants would be bustling to fill the hole they’ve left.
Welcoming New Brands Into The F&B Scene
Aside from where we can now get our fix for the above restaurants, there are also some major overseas F&B brands that we can look forward to trying in 2021.
An American F&B chain that’s made it to Malaysia is The Cheesecake Factory (TCF), which was brought in by Legasea Bakery who has distributing rights from TCF.
According to an article by Tatler Malaysia, the trio behind the bakery loved TCF’s cheesecakes so much that they decided to start this bakery just to bring in these cheesecakes.
They’re currently running the business online, but they do plan to have a physical store in Sunway Pyramid soon, although it’s been delayed by the pandemic.
Taco Bell, an American Mexican-inspired fast food chain will be feeding fans soon, starting in CyberJaya, which they announced on their site. The exact date of their launch, however, is still under the wraps.
Another popular F&B brand that Malaysians have been awaiting is Five Guys, also an American fast food chain, albeit their opening at Genting has yet to be announced.
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Featured Image Credit: dal.komm Coffee / Ben & Jerry’s Malaysia / Signature Fei Fei Crab Restaurant by Travelopy
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