One month after paying rent on an unused space and keeping his staff on half pay to guard them from the hullabaloo of the National Insurance Board’s (NIB) unemployment line, the principal of Da Bush Cook said he is preparing his business for Monday’s announced reopening, having suffered a 20 percent revenue decline since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Corey Small said he and his staff are preparing to deal with the new emergency orders that will come into force on Monday and make whatever adjustments are necessary.
This past Monday evening, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis revealed that eateries would be allowed to reopen on August 31, but serving through, in Small’s case, takeaway and delivery only.
Small said Da Bush Cook will only operate from one of its two locations when it reopens.
According to Small, he has paid his staff for this week so that they can prepare themselves to return to work.
“We opted not to send our staff to NIB, we opted to keep our staff on pretty much a half salary so they would be able to keep funds coming in because we know the turmoil at NIB,” Small said.
As he watched the pandemic develop at the beginning of the year, Small explained that he began to purchase stock for his operation on a daily basis so as to not have wastage should the country go into lockdown. And the country did.
He said the biggest losses caused by the lockdowns were from dead rent and utilities payments for an unused space and keeping employees paid.
“We just kept our freezers running, thank God there were no power issues,” Small said.
“The only issue that we’ve been encountering is the rent with our landlord, because [in the past month] we’d only been in there for one week and we had to pay for the entire month. There’s no discount, there’s no leniency, nothing at all, so that’s $1,500 we have to deal with.
“The issue isn’t what’s happening, the issue is the aftermath, because as a business owner we still have to pay these utilities, we still have to pay these staffing bills, we still have to pay these other dues and no one is saying anything about it.”
As the need to utilize technology during these times increases, Small said Da Bush Cook is now about 60 to 70 percent dependent on myriad online operations to make running the business under emergency orders easier.
He said the Kraven delivery app has helped his business and explained that Whatsapp and social media marketing have become vital.
“We’re getting as much info out there as possible,” he said.