On The Front Line... Kirk and Lisa Chin


On The Front Line... Kirk and Lisa Chin

Award-winning restaurateurs Zack's Smoke Shack, Fromage Bistro, Fromage Brasserie, Café Dolce & Oak Kitchen

Thursday, April 23, 2020

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Hospitality Has Been Cancelled

And just like that, a bomb was dropped on our industry! No gathering, social distancing, no celebrations. These are all the things that keep our industry alive and what our brand Fromage is known for: good food, and great service. Our community comes to us for every celebration.

At the dawn of the COVID-19 outbreak we are hanging by a thread and we are now facing a crisis.

What hit us?

We are in the middle of a downward spiral that caused us to scramble and rewrite how we do business. How do we move forward with suppliers needing payment for goods before they are sold? Landlords needing rent for revenues we have not made? Payment of utilities that have not been cut for the ongoing disaster period? We are suffering! We have had to make decisions that did not make us happy for our family, our team, which we had to dismantle. It was not only a safety issue for staff and customers, but an act by the Government. Constantly, we are faced with all these questions of uncertainty: Do we open? Do we just close? You drive up in the first week to empty carparks, just an eerie quiet. Staff with the look of worry on both their faces. What next?

We were now confronted with many changes from capacity to the amount of persons at any given time, and new safety precautions and mandatory sanitation of customers' hands.

We are operating what we never thought possible: A “ghost kitchen”. We are doing everything we can and with six restaurants full-service and fast casual (Fromage Bistro, Fromage Brasserie, Café Dolce, Zack's Smoke Shack and Oak Kitchen). We are adapting to family-size meals and menu changes, kerbside, to-go orders and delivery to stay afloat and pay the bills and take care of staff.

As we continue to operate, numerous things have changed, including:

*70% of our staff had to be laid off

*Salary reductions due to available hours

*Limited inventory

*Started kerbside pick-up and deliveries without a third party

*Specials on menu items

Our marketing plans have all had to be put on hold. Events and tastings all postponed. However, this pandemic has everyone on their phones and the Internet, looking for options for food, and our digital content leads have seen an increase.

We are now in the business to comfort people with food, to provide a feeling of well-being.

We will do whatever it takes to not give up for our customers and staff. As directors my husband and I have also made a decision to take a salary cut until things are back to normal. We are currently in the phase to try and create a fund for all our staff members who have been laid off.

When will this be over? When can we get back to normal? It will take us a while to get back to rehiring and retraining staff to now do the dance of the orchestra all harmonising together. When will our dining rooms be full again with of the sounds of laughter and celebration? Will we ever recover? Is this the new norm?

Fromage Bistro

Address: 8 Hillcrest Ave, Kingston 6

Telephone: 876-622-9856/876-927-7062


Fromage Brasserie

Address: Marketplace, 67 Constant Spring Rd, Kingston 10

E-mail: fromagemarket@gmail.com/info@fromageja.com

Telephone: 876-649-0820-1


Café Dolce

Address: Kingston Industrial Garage, 381 Spanish Town Road & 114 Constant Spring Rd, Kingston

Telephone: 876-923-6479/876-649-9971


Zack's Smoke Shack

Address: Shop #9H Marketplace, 67 Constant Spring Road, Kingston 10

Telephone: 876-404-5265


Oak Kitchen

Address: 8 Hillcrest Avenue, Kingston 6

Telephone: 876-622-9856

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