Update on Jan. 21, 9pm: Teo Heng KTV spokesperson said that exiting from the industry is a temporary move and they will make a come back when they can. Read more here.
Crippled by the loss of revenue since the circuit breaker in 2020, home-grown karaoke chain Teo Heng KTV is finally drawing its shutters for good.
Tried their best to sustain their business
Teo Heng was first forced to cease operations in March 2020. Despite sustaining around S$500,000 losses each month since their closure, the karaoke chain fought to retain their staff, and continued to pay them their salaries in full.
The decades-old business cherishes its staff, as director Jean Teo previously told Mothership, and treats them like family.
Teo said the company would rather close more outlets than retrench any of its staff.
Already, Teo Heng has closed seven of its outlets, including their very first outlet at Katong Shopping Centre.
Despite the commencement of Phase 3 offering a small glimmer of hope for businesses in the nightlife industry, those hopes were dashed when the nightlife reopening pilot for nightclubs and karaoke outlets was deferred.
The government announced on Jan. 20 that the pilot would be put on hold until further notice due to the rise in community cases.
Leaving industry for good
This proved a huge blow for Teo Heng.
But their hopes were dashed since the reopening pilot programmes were on hold.
With the latest development, Teo Heng could not find a guaranteed stream of revenue and they could no longer defer their rents further, Teo told Mothership.
Teo told Mothership that the management and landlords are not confident that the entertainment industry would survive the pandemic.
They thus made the very difficult decision of leaving the industry "for good".
"It's not fair to the landlords too, I can't give them the guarantee to pay the rent promptly [sic].
Now we have to settle our outstanding rental payment from August 2020 to February 2021 to the landlords. If not we'll be sued."
In the meantime, Teo said she hoped that the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Law would be able to help mediate with their landlords, as she hopes to end things on a good note with them.
And it seems choosing to close the family-run business has weighed heavily on Teo's heart.
During the call with Mothership, Teo choked up at several moments and sounded to be in tears.
"The day we wanted to reopen [to pivot our business] became the day we had to close for good," Teo said of the day the reopening pilot was deferred.
She added that she felt that now was the best time to shut down their business and recoup their losses.
Teo was also concerned about the staff and their livelihoods, and wanted to "settle [their closure] early [as] it's the best for everyone".
She added that their staff can either find new jobs or return to their home countries.
Teo also hoped that once the pandemic is over, Teo Heng would be able to make a comeback.
"We trust the government, that they are trying their best to salvage everything, but public health is the most important," she said.
And despite the "rollercoaster ride" that the business endured in the past year during the Covid-19 crisis, Teo said that she had "no regrets".
Teo Heng will still be selling their karaoke packages, which you can check out on their Facebook page.
Top photo via Teo Heng KTV / FB
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