The pandemic was undeniably tough for the F&B industry in 2020. Many companies have had to spin to keep business going, but panning doesn’t always guarantee survival.
Even popular and well-known F&B brands with loyal and supportive fans couldn’t keep up with the uncertainties of the year and closed.
From our research, we found 6 such F&B companies in Malaysia. While their closings can upset fans, there are similar competitors to turn to, and Malaysians can also expect some better things to come in the F&B scene.
1. Delicious group
According to Malay Mail, Delicious Group began as a small café in an MS READ boutique in the 1Utama Shopping Center.
The umbrella F&B group included restaurants D’Lish, Botanical and Reunion Chinese Restaurant, DISH and Simply D.
Photo credit: Delicious Group
Unfortunately, after two decades since its inception, the Delicious Group had to cease operations entirely in June 2020, according to its Facebook post.
Her departure from the F&B scene would give other competitors more space to fill up. Some of the names we can see in the absence are:
These F&B groups also have restaurants that offer menus similar to the Delicious Group: a mix of Malaysian food, Asian fusion food, and Western food.
Families who have visited restaurants under the Delicious Group might visit restaurants from these groups instead if they are looking for a similar menu.
2. Ben & Jerry’s
Although Ben & Jerry’s in Malaysia has only been open for a little over a year, they recently announced their decision to close their only scoop shop in the Sunway Pyramid.
Photo credit: Ben & Jerry’s Malaysia
Unilever PLC, the company that owns Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s, saw off-home ice cream sales down 13% in Q3 this year, but home ice cream sales up 16% in Wallstreet Journal .
Given the surge in home ice cream sales, it’s understandable why Ben & Jerry’s Malaysia decided to close the Scoop Shop.
The brand is not pulling out of Malaysia entirely and is still available online. So maybe one day we will see a comeback with another Scoop Shop.
In the meantime, local ice cream brands like Inside Scoop, Sangkaya and Créme De La Créme will have one less international brand to fear alongside Baskin Robbins, Häagen-Dazs and Cold Stone Creamery.
3. There come coffee
dal.komm Coffee is a South Korean cafe chain founded in 2013 by Danal Entertainment under Danal Co., Ltd., a company providing wired / wireless payment services.
The first dal.komm Coffee Store was opened in Damansara Utama in November 2014 and has since opened 6 branches in Malaysia.
Image credit: oo-foodielicious
While they haven’t released an official statement on their current operational status in Malaysia, Google is showing that their Genting, Damansara and IOI branches are permanently closed while their KLCC and Plaza Arkadia branches are temporarily closed.
I also tried calling all branches but the numbers were no longer working. In addition, their Malaysian Facebook pages have been deleted from their previous posts.
For the time being, you can therefore assume that they will no longer be in operation until further notice. If confirmed, their shutdown could reduce competition from other South Korean coffee chains in Malaysia such as Coffee Coffee and Caffé Bene.
4. Signature Fei Fei Crab Restaurant
From the list so far, it can be seen that dessert companies appear to be more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19, but family restaurants haven’t done much better as we’ve seen at Delicious Group.
The Signature Fei Fei Crab Restaurant, a well-known Chinese seafood restaurant in Kepong, announced on Facebook that its “business failed”, which is why all branches in Malaysia were closed.
Photo credit: Travelopy and Foursquare
Their last day of operation was at 11:00 p.m. on August 31, 2020 when they officially signed out of the F&B industry and shut down their Facebook page according to Hype MY.
An important point to note is that Signature Fei Fei Crab and Fei Fei Crab are two separate companies and Fei Fei Crab will continue to operate as usual.
Chinese seafood restaurants that also specialize in crab dishes, such as the Mei Keng Fatt Seafood Restaurant, the Crab Generation, and the Hokkaido Seafood Restaurant, could soon have the portion of Signature Fei Fei Crab diners.
It used to be a factory that made industrial thread seals for 30 years. This space was taken over by the WhupWhup team to build a café and event space.
Their area is over 10,000 m², which has enabled them to host all kinds of large events such as weddings, launches, concerts, film screenings, exhibitions, fashion shows and more.
Image Credit: WhupWhup
After four and a half years, the WhupWhup team announced its final closure in a Facebook post on May 11, 2020, but did not blame the pandemic.
The Subang Jaya cafe scene has always been competitive, but in the area where WhupWhup operated, Gray Sky Morning (another industrial cafe) and After Black now have one less cafe to compete with.
In the industrial cafe scene as a whole, however, less popular cafes still have to worry about bigger competitors like PULP by Papa Palheta, BEAM and Garage 51.
6. Maiu Japanese restaurant
Located in Sri Petaling, Maiu was a restaurant that served Japanese fusion food to local palates.
They previously had branches in Damansara Perdana and Jalan Kuching, both of which are no longer in operation.
Photo credit: Maiu Japanese Restaurant
Although they haven’t released an official statement about their closure, their restaurant is marked permanently closed on Google.
Their last Facebook post was also on May 30, 2020. Since they have posted at least several times a month, due to this inactivity, we believe that at least for the time being they will no longer work.
While sad, Sri Petaling’s hub of 10+ other Japanese restaurants would be bustling to fill the hole they left behind.
Some popular names people often use now to come up with their solution could be Sushi Mentai and Warakuya. However, they may not completely replace Maiu’s unique Japanese buffet menu.
Welcome new brands to the F&B scene
Aside from where we can fix the above restaurants now, there are also some major F&B brands overseas to look forward to in 2021.
One American F&B chain that made it to Malaysia is The Cheesecake Factory (TCF), which was introduced by Legasea Bakery, which owns the distribution rights of TCF.
According to an article by Tatler Malaysia, the trio behind the bakery loved TCF cheesecakes so much that they decided to open this bakery just to bring in those cheesecakes.
They currently run the business online but plan to open a physical store in the Sunway pyramid soon, despite the pandemic delaying it.
Taco Bell, an American-Mexicans-inspired fast food chain, is about to be feeding fans, starting with CyberJaya, which they announced on their website. However, the exact date of their launch is not yet known.
Another popular F&B brand that Malaysians have been waiting for is Five Guys, also an American fast food chain, but Genting has not yet announced its opening.
- More lists we’ve written about can be found here.
- You can read about other Malaysian startups that we’ve written about here.
Selected image source: dal.komm Coffee / Ben & Jerrys Malaysia / Signature Fei Fei Crab Restaurant by Travelopy