While many businesses in Phnom Penh have temporarily shut up shop in line with the government’s order in March to stop the spread of COVID-19, those allowed to remain open, such as supermarkets, some food restaurants and coffee shops, are reporting sharp drops in profit.
High-contact businesses including bars, clubs, KTVs, massage parlours, spas and gyms were closed over a month ago but those that are still operating say that as more people start to stay at home amid virus fears, there has been a noticeable decrease in revenue.
These include Park Café, a popular restaurant chain with 13 branches in the capital. Heng Sengly, managing director of the food-service outlet, says that their accounts show around a 60 percent dip in trade since the virus turned into a world health crisis in January.
“Walk-in customers have decreased between 50-60 percent because people are afraid of each other and are having limited gatherings and meetings. Our restaurants used to be packed but now it’s a very different story,” he said.
But similarly to other struggling businesses, to mitigate against revenue losses, Park Café has launched a new contactless delivery service. This means customers can place an order and have the food delivered outside so no interaction is required.
“Our delivery service figures are up by about 70 percent and this is something we want to continue building on once the virus is behind us,” Heng said.
Yem Chhim, founder of local brand coffee shop, Mobile Coffee, said that he has seen a downturn of around 35 percent, but is confident the coffee business will survive while it is not on the government’s official closure list, although it might have some casualties along the way.
“The big franchises were our main competition before but now it will be the small independent companies that are fighting for survival,” Yem said.