This article is a part of our Appetite for Destruction feature, a series of interviews conducted by That’s staff to examine the impact of the novel coronavirus on China’s food and beverage industry. For more articles from this series, click here.
Logan R. Brouse – Shanghai
Head Lime Cutter at Logan’s Punch, Tacolicious
In addition to his wicked sense of humor, Logan R. Brouse is known around town for his crafty cocktails, which have kept the hardworking folks of Shanghai sauced up for a decade. Below, Brouse shares his thoughts on the impact the novel coronavirus is having on the Shanghai F&B scene:
How has the novel coronavirus impacted your businesses?
We’ve felt the impact in terms of stranded staff, delayed deliveries and panicked customers who are afraid to leave their homes. Obviously, business has suffered considerably but we know that China will get through this together.
More generally, how has the outbreak impacted the F&B industry in Shanghai, based on your observations?
As of now, the Shanghai F&B scene is in hibernation. There are only a few places open and those places are experiencing lower than normal turnouts. As I look down Yanping Lu, it seems like a ghost town. Hopefully we will see a strong resurgence in our wonderful F&B community after this crisis has passed.
What measures have your businesses taken to mitigate the damage caused by the prolonged CNY holiday and the ongoing coronavirus outbreak?
In terms of things, at Tacolicious and Logan’s Punch there are hand sanitizer stations everywhere, masks and gloves for staff as well as thermometers. As far as mitigating the bad business, we’ve done lots of specials and drink deals to promote more business. At Tacolicous, we are offering lots of delivery contests and promotions as well.
How long do you think it will take for the F&B industry in Shanghai to recover?
I think this really depends on the individual finances of F&B venues in the city. If you were strong before the closures you might have enough of a war chest to wait this out; at the same time, if you were on the edge of closing already this might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Hopefully the government will help businesses here by offering rent reductions.
I think there will be broad repercussions [as a result of the disease outbreak] that will trickle into a lot of elements of the F&B scene. Sadly, there will be establishments that might close their doors for good; staff will be looked at differently if they are from Wuhan or Hubei; and big global liquor companies will miss sales targets, which will affect the budgets for next year. Also, there might be a lingering fear of big crowds and large venues.
What could be the possible positive outcomes of the novel coronavirus outbreak for Shanghai’s F&B community going forward?
I think that some of the positive outcomes will be a better focus on hygiene for all staff, and a sense of community knowing that we stuck it out together – especially for those of us who remained in the city and tried our best to operate, or support friends who could. I think and hope that after this crisis finishes, Shanghai’s F&B community will come together to heal, loan each other stuff and carry on with a stiff upper lip – and a shot or two.
Responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.
[Cover image via Logan R. Brouse]