EwF at Orchard Central asked to move as international retail brand 'wants (the) space'
Food outlet EwF has been asked to vacate its current space at Orchard Central, to make way for an "international retail brand".
A poster displayed outside their Orchard Central outlet was put up two Saturdays ago, and says the outlet's last day at the space will be Dec 31, 2015.
EwF, a fast food branch of the restaurant Everything With Fries, has been at Orchard Central for more than five years.
It opened its doors in early 2010 while Orchard Central opened its doors in 2009.
The goodbye note to customers was candid - it said the outlet had "stuck it out ... for more than five years, through the years when this mall was dead and empty and saw the demise of many international fast food players".
"Now that things are finally looking up for us, our landlord said it wants us to give up this space, EwF’s first home, for an international retail brand that wants our space.
"Guess this is what SMEs suffer with their landlords all the time."
(The full text of the note is at the end of this article.)
PHOTO: FACEBOOK/MICHEL LU
EwF has another outlet in Bugis Junction which opened in April this year.
When contacted by The New Paper, EwF declined to comment.
Far East Organization, which owns Orchard Central, told The New Paper that changes are being made to the mall are part of enhancement works that started in the fourth quarter of 2015.
They said tenants were informed of their plans in June this year.
"Those affected, which is less than 15 per cent of the tenants, were offered to relocate within Orchard Central or to an alternative Far East Organization malls to ensure business continuity," said Mr Eric Tong, assistant director, retail business group at Far East Organisation.
"Majority of the tenants are positive about the change and anticipate the new opportunities this brings," he added.
Some of the tenants affected by the enhancements are Nautica and Dr. Martens.
These enhancement works include changes in the mall's tenants as well as structural changes to the mall such as new escalators and improved walkways.
PHOTO: FACEBOOK SCREENGRAB/EWF
Far East Organization clarified that all affected tenants were given the choice to relocate within Orchard Central or any other Far East Organization's malls.
They declined to reveal the name of the international brand taking the spot currently occupied by EwF, choosing only to say that it was the brand's first flagship store in Southeast Asia.
The move is "a commercial decision," said Associate Professor Seshan Ramaswami, who teaches marketing education at Singapore Management University.
"Very often, it is just a matter of 'business' and the bottom line - being able to extract a bigger rental, and subsequent increases, when you have an international retailer as your tenant, rather than a local small medium enterprise," he said.
"The other small businesses in the mall will have to make their own individual decisions – some other food operators in that mall may actually benefit from the traffic diverted from EwF," he added.
He lauded EwF's decision to tell their customers that they will be closing down.
"It might inspire their loyal customers to patronise their Bugis location and other locations they might open in the future," he added.
Here is EwF's full statement:
Dear friends and customers,
After having stuck it out at Orchard Central for more than five years, through the early years when this mall was dead and empty and saw the demise of many international fast food players, we are proud to say that today we find ourselves in a position where we have built a great Singapore brand with a loyal following and have outlasted other far more eminent, big brands.
Now that things are finally looking up for us, our landlord said it wants us to give up this space, EwF’s first home, for an international retail brand that wants our space. Guess this is what SMEs suffer with their landlords all the time. Realities are harsh for small guys like us.
We have no choice in the matter.
So it is with much sadness that we tell you that our last day here is December 31, 2015. Five-and-a-half-years on. We leave with a heavy heart (not really missing the landlord but we’ll certainly miss our fantastic customers.
So from January 1, 2016, please continue to support us at our only remaining EwF at Bugis Junction!
As a recognition of your wonderful loyalty and kind support – we’re giving out 10% vouchers for use at EwF Bugis Junction from January 1, 2016.