I’d like to give thanks to every one who gave me a warm welcome back to blogging. You guys are the best! *^.^*
What happened to the cafe?
A few of you have asked how things went with the cafe and I thought I should give everyone a rundown of how things are now. First things first, we closed the cafe. Yeah, that was a huge letdown. When we opened it we had a steady stream of people either curious or wanting to try out our food. Most of them enjoyed it and we even had a couple of repeat customers! We came to know them as the ‘spaghetti meatball customer’, or ‘the kebab boy’, or ‘biryani guy’, so on and so forth. Every new purchase, repeat order and positive review was a dose of dopamine for us. We also had our fair share of strange ones, like that one who placed an online order for plain rice only, even though there were many other restaurants who stocked it. Like, if you wanted plain rice, why choose us? Our main thing wasn’t even rice!
Of course, no business goes without bad reviews or annoying customers. For instance, when we warm the pita bread for a wrap sometimes it gets baked too long and ends up dry and crispy instead of warm and soft. Or maybe that one time when the chicken in a curry was too dry. As for annoying customers, we had one group of women who ordered from the menu and then, when it was time to pay, acted surprised at the price for a burger(our prices were fairly affordable—many were leaning on the cheap side—for halal foreign food in China). Like, THE PRICE WAS WRITTEN ON THE MENU WHICH YOU ORDERED FROM WOMAN -_-
Running a small business was hectic and tiring. Especially a family business. There are disagreements, differing business styles, add in dysfunctional family attitudes, and you’ll understand why they say ‘don’t go into business with your family’.
We learnt a lot, though. It felt a little like a social experiment and you only understand how things are really like once you’ve done it yourself. We got to know a few neighboring shop owners and everyone looked at each other thinking the other was doing better business than their own. A flower shop thought we were doing well based on the couple of delivery guys who’d come to our shop for order pickups when in reality we were only earning a pittance from each order, plus paying out of our own pockets due to less orders.
A burger joint opened up not long before we closed and they made a huge hubbub on opening day, their whole place was packed with people. It seemed like they were going to be a success, but then a week later, there was significantly less customers until it became just a few, and maybe those were only online orders(online orders may have a larger reach but earn less per order as the platform cuts 16-18% from your profits). I also figured out they were faking some of their online reviews(based on the review pictures). So, yeah, doing business wasn’t easy for anyone. I think a large part of why we failed, and also that burger place, was the bad location. Our ideal customer base are largely concentrated in the neighboring city of GuangZhou, whereas our place had mostly lower-income customers, plus, there were lesser customers who didn’t cook at home.
So, in the end, because of insufficient orders we had to close doors. Of course, I’m just condensing stuff, cuz this whole phase took place in more than half a year. I’m not even gonna begin to explain the deep waters of online food delivery, that was a separate world in itself.
I did get to see some cute guys though 😀 Not gonna complain there. Oh, and all of us learned how to ride a scooter! It was terrifying at first and, after my first experience, I vowed to never ride it again. But somehow I gave it a second try, and then a third, and then it miraculously became more manageable, until I was riding with ease! (the fact that the bike was on ‘speed’ mode rather than ‘efficient’ mode was a huge factor on why the 1st time was so petrifying xD)
How’s life during this Novel Coronavirus?
Not long after we shuttered up, the virus chaos descended. We’ve been holing ourselves up in the apartment for a few months now, only going out for groceries and retrieving packages, things you can’t avoid even if you wanted to. It’s scary how easily transmittable this Covid-19 is. We wipe rubbing alcohol on whatever we take back home, it’s an all-consuming task. But I remind myself that at least we have it luckier than a lot of people. Some are going through the toughest time of their lives, maybe even losing most of their family to the virus. I’m sure I say it for everyone when I say that I hope this is over soon. Though we don’t know when that’ll be now that it’s spreading through many other countries like wildfire. You guys, please take the safer route even if it may make you seem crazy(like sanitizing each grocery item or using gloves everywhere you go). This isn’t some normal flu, much of it is still undiscovered, it’s got a long incubation period and not everyone exhibits symptoms(someone could have it without you even knowing). How scary is that.But, it’s good to keep a level-head at times like this, too.
Ok, this has become more like a life story than a recap. Haha. Well, that’s a summary of what’s been happening. Has life where you are changed due to the virus?