Business and Coronavirus situation

Long story short, we have a company, and we wanted to start a new restaurant/bar since December/CNY. We couldn’t find a suitable location, so we were looking around and BAM, the virus hit. We all agreed that this is a blessing in disguise, and we should sit tight and observe the situation.

Now I had a meeting, and in typical Taiwanese fashion, they wanted to decide on location in 2 to 3 days. (Albeit a decent location)

I am very uncomfortable with this because I am seeing the virus wreaking havoc across the globe, and Taiwan is not excluded from this, even though the country has been on top of it compared to most of the nations. I still think we should observe because the worst is yet to come, and we can wait at least 2 to 3 more months to see before we dump our capital. It isn’t much, but considering the situation, the business can wait.

I’ve talked to them with my concern, but they seemed to be blinded from the fact that Taiwan has been doing an excellent job, and the SARS experience made Taiwan much better than other countries. I refuted that COVID-19 isn’t SARS, and the world is taking sh^& right now. We’ve waited patiently, why couldn’t wait a little longer? (no avail, chabuduo…)

Can someone chime in? Am I making a correct assessment of the current social situation? If I am, can someone provide me a link to prove that we are rushing and this is rather a reckless move? My words won’t do much to them right now. I am looking around but I need a convincing article that is clear to get my point to our chatroom.

Thanks tons!

DUDE, do you see what is happening in the U.S. and Europe?
Restaurants only on takeout mode and many are closed anyway.
If you start up now, you will very likely get burned.
You have zero proof that Taiwan will remain as it is now. You are starting this in the highest unclear business environment ever.

And who are these idiots? Other investors?


Do you have a business plan? Have you accounted for seasonal traffic? What about exit strategies to minimize loss?

I would say, until you can clearly answer at least those three questions, don’t start the business.

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This is what I’ve stated but as being the only foreigner in the company I felt like my point was not taken seriously. I will get my point across, with the others. They are so convinced that Taiwan is safe :tired_face:

how much % of company do you own?
what type of restaurant? food style, pub grub?
what are your sources for menu ingredients?

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  1. I made the business plan, and presented to them
  2. They seemed to somewhat understand the traffic, though this will vary greatly with the location.
  3. The exit strategy would be to sell the site and equipment but not crystal clear.

So, yes, not a great time and this is what I was saying. Frustrating for sure.

4 man company so we all own 25%.
It will be an Japanese bistro with sushi and sake. Bit more on bar style
We are trying to source local ingredients as much as possible, but we will have to get things imported on and off.

How much will you lose if you get out of this partnership?

With the current scenario, I’d say a fixed position is less desirable than a mobile one. Though I’m not sure about the legalities of selling sake from a food truck. But it would mean deliveries and catering would be easier if that was anywhere in your business plan.


most restaurants fail regardless of epidemics. you need to control suppliers cost, food waste and have enough margin. that’s enough of a burden without covid.
if you had a solid business plan before, covid won’t stop you. if you dont have a solid plan, then even without covid you’d fail .


It would need to be a business plan that enables their business to survive with no customers if there is a lockdown. So, COVID-19 could still stop them if they don’t have enough capital set aside for that strong possibility. Gordon Ramsay has just laid off 500 employees.

More likely is they will struggle to get the restaurant renovated. I can’t believe the OP’s partners are considering starting a restaurant.


I won’t lose much if I really wanted out. The money hasn’t been spent yet.
I do want to open, because we only want to operate for 2-3 years and we can move to the next phase of our plan but not now. And many of my friends are saying the same.

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That’s the thing. I was a GM for a sushi restaurant in US, but my partners are thinking I can account for all the cultural aspects of running the restaurant in Taiwan. My plan might be acceptable in US, but not necessarily here. I’ve been consulting my friend who is also American and a restaurant owner here for wisdom.

I would negotiate with the landlord. 30% off of rent for the first six months. One year lease only. The reason: coronavirus. And I would personally negotiate or have someone to translate if your Mandarin is not good (to make it clear that you are ready to walk away).

When the landlord agrees, this will show your partners that he or she too realizes the risks involved in the current situation. Also, when the landlord agrees, you can then decide whether you want to move forward considering all factors that you know best, for example, whether your company savings can allow you to survive in the event of a lockdown. Every company I am aware of is preparing for this possibility. Nobody is counting on it, but everyone is preparing just in case.

Edit: I personally would not start a restaurant now, though. But if you’re determined to move forward and understand the risk, maybe this would be a good way forward.

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My wife was planning out setting up a business before the LNY holiday with a partner. I encouraged her to wait it out to see what is going to happen in the future. Her potential partner is heaping on the pressure saying she gains nothing without risk. Utter bullshaz at a time like this. I’ve since found out that the other person was so hellbent to start because they went to a f’ing fortune teller who said it was now or never. Beware OP, beware.


Classic :+1: :grin: It’s usually either the fortune teller or some “laoshi”

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OMG, this sounds so much like mine. One of the partner is heavily influenced by this type of gimmick. The cultural aspect is so heavy it clouds their mind.

it depends on the restaurant, how much you invest and your ongoing expenses. As you know the risks for a Michelin star restaurant relying on high spending tourists are much higher than louisa coffee which in turn are much higher than a breakfast place where the owner also does the cooking and cleaning… we dont know what the OP has planned.
at the moment the risk of lockdown is about the same as the risk of a typhoon blowing a tree through you store, both are possible.
My point is: a solid plan should factor the time needed to recoup the investment and have some buffer for unexpected trouble. if you plan to open and hope things work out, you are most likely going to fail, hope alone is not a strategy

Maybe the fortune teller thinks its now or never because the end of the world is coming…like literally now or never. :laughing:

Good luck, tough to fight any kind of thinking not based on reason.

Yup, I agree.
This place is a joint effort with 4 of us. Each one of us will bring something to the table.

The strength of this is that we are flexible. I can do only takeouts/delivery services if it is needed, or just bar food if the restaurant is not doing well. We are willing to do anything/everything regarding my view on food, which is why I felt like this plan was worth a try in the beginning. (I was running a small American Sushi restaurant last year, and that’s why they recruited me to form a company)

I’ve just proposed that we should have at least 2 or 3 more business plans, including different services like takeout only or sales only in case of a city lockdown, as a safety measure. Not that we will open anytime soon, but having different plans are always helpful.

I’ve talked to them, and they seemed to understand the situation. Nothing is confirmed and

given this advice, my partners will negotiate with the landlord. From there we will decide on an official contract and move forward IF the terms presented pose the lowest risk for us.(Thankfully, they also don’t want to burn money…)

Either way, we are still looking at least 3-4 months window before opening (if that), and we can act accordingly to the virus situation. Hopefully, they will be logical and make smart decisions because I thought they were…

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