Dec 31 closure of Charlie Brown Cafe marks end of dream for co-founder
Today marks end of dream for co-founder Lawrence Lim, who hopes to reopen cafe
Dec 31 does not just mark the end of the year for Mr Lawrence Lim but the end of his big business dream too.
It is the last day of operation for Charlie Brown Cafe at Cineleisure Orchard, which he co-founded 10 years ago.
Fan favourites Charlie Brown and Snoopy were a big part of his childhood, and he wanted to pursue his passion for the Peanuts comic strip series by first opening the themed family restaurant with a halal Western menu at 313@somerset in 2010 before relocating to its current venue in 2014.
A second outlet was launched at shopping mall Kinex in 2015, but it closed less than three years later after suffering losses amounting to $300,000.
Business was much better over at Cineleisure Orchard, with monthly sales hitting $70,000 and about 6,000 customers a month.
However, from 2017 to 2018, sales began to drop by 10 per cent.
Then things took a turn for the worse this year.
Mr Lim, a 46-year-old father of two, told The New Paper: "The Covid-19 pandemic hit us so badly that we cannot continue any more."
The cafe lost $100,000 from January to June.
During the circuit breaker, it opened for delivery and takeaway for one week, but sales of under $100 a day could not cover staff salaries.
Even after dine-in was allowed in phase two of the reopening, sales dropped by 30 per cent.
It managed to break even, but a lack of time and cashflow to plan ahead led to his decision to close today as the restaurant's lease was up too.
"I feel very sad, disappointed, hurt and upset. I can't bear to leave the business like this after all the effort," said Mr Lim, who added that he is at least glad the business lasted a decade.
He hopes the cafe will remain a good memory for customers, who can enjoy 20 per cent off all merchandise today.
But Mr Lim is not giving up that easily and plans to reopen Charlie Brown Cafe in the next six months if he manages to find a suitable shophouse location in town and secure investment funds.
He is also taking cues from Snoopy. He described the dog as "adventurous with a lot of wonder" and it taught him that "you can turn your imagination into reality, and that everything is possible".