A family restaurant which saw trade ‘disappear’ after the government scheme ended has extended the half price offer so staff can keep their jobs.
Vietnamese Street Kitchen will be offering 50 per cent off, up to £10 per person, at its Resorts World eatery every weekday until October 16 to prevent redundancies.
Oliver Ngo, who runs the restaurant alongside his auntie and uncle, says trade dropped off as soon as the Eat Out to Help Out offer ended in August.
But he vowed to keep his workforce – even with the threat of losing money – in a fight to survive.
“I thought if I was going to break even or lose money, rather than getting rid of all my staff, why not keep everyone in jobs,” he told BirminghamLive.
“I want to get life back on track, not just lick your wounds and blame everything on the economy. I want to be out there trying to do something.
“I’m not out for the count, I want to be here trying to drum up the economy.”
Asked about the possibility of having to lose staff or even close up shop, he added: “I don’t want to think like that, I’ve still got a little bit of fight left in me.”
Ahead of the Covid-19 lockdown, he says business at the Resorts World location was booming, with both bookings and walk-ins from those shopping in the complex.
“Before the lockdown we were absolutely flying, the Arena location and all sorts of things were working well for us,” he said.
“But after that it dropped off quite a lot. Last month, people kept coming out to eat, week after week and it progressively got busier and busier.
“When September came, it seemed the trade just disappeared.
“Everywhere has been struggling, unless you’re doing an offer or giving people really good value for money, you need something to help people out to help yourself at the same time,” he added.
Mr Ngo, whose parents settled in Birmingham in the 80s after fleeing war-torn Vietnam, first launched the Vietnamese Street Kitchen in 2018 as a ‘lunch spot’ in Brindleyplace.
But he says it was so popular he had customers banging on the windows for food as he tried to close up shop.
“It was only ever supposed to be a good lunch spot, but at 4pm every day while I was preparing for the next day, people were banging on the windows saying: ‘What’s going on, serve me something’.
Have you been affected by this story? Do you have an issue you want us to investigate or something you want to share from your area?
Let me know by emailing email@example.com, tweeting me @JournoBalloo or calling 07747078285.
Read more by Stephanie Balloo here.
The 4pm closing time soon became six o’clock – and 6pm became 10pm – until Mr Ngo was running a “fully fledged restaurant”.
The general manager added: “I’m British born, England is in my heart, but growing up with Vietnamese food and being around strong Vietnamese women like my aunties, I’ve always been interested in food and the restaurant business.”
Resorts World then approached the restaurant to open another branch.
The Eat Out to Help Out offer will run Monday – Friday at the Resorts World restaurant until October 16.