How This Zi-Char Restaurant Survived COVID-19: Sum Kee Food

With outlets at Telok Blangah and Jurong, Sum Kee Food is a local zhi-char restaurant serving up some of the best Curry Fish Head and Salted Egg Chicken in town.

As a former air steward, Mr. CM Sum has always recognised his life-long passion and purpose in the service and hospitality. After moving on from the airline industry, Mr. Sum decided to put his passion to action with his wife, Cynthia, and they started Sum Kee Food.

In 2002, he opened his first restaurant in Batam serving up comforting zi-char favourites, before relocating to River Valley and Zion Road in Singapore. Now, they have 2 outlets in Telok Blangah and Jurong.

Yet, even with their fanfare and following, the owners of family-ran Sum Kee Food found themselves in a tough spot when the pandemic hit early this year, not unlike many other restaurants.

We sat down with Mr. Sum, and his daughter Natasha to understand how they have been dealing with the business impact of COVID-19 and safe distancing measures in Singapore.

With the previous cessation of dining in and the current reduced capacities at F&B outlets, delivery and takeaway became a key source of income for F&B businesses in Singapore.

Quitting was never an option because of how much blood and tears my parents have already given to this business

Natasha, second-generation owner of Sum Kee Food.

Wanting to help their father’s restaurant stand out in a saturated delivery market, the Sum daughters put their heads together to drive Sum Kee Food’s online presence.

From setting up the restaurant’s online delivery platform to amping up their marketing and social media efforts, Mr Sum believes his daughters are to thank for a large portion of online sales the last couple of months.

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When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Fast forward to 3 months later, and Sum Kee Food is almost back in full swing again. On what keeps them going, Natasha shares that “the encouraging messages from our customers, friends and family on social media gave us (them) the strength and determination to tide through this tough period.”
 
If you’re in the mood for delicious salted egg chicken and curry fish head, have yourself a Sum Kee feast this weekend.

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