Actress Vivian Lai, who owns bubble tea chain Teabrary, personally delivered drinks to customers until 3am when the circuit breaker was announced last year.
“When the government announced the circuit breaker last year, we were really taken by surprise and didn’t know what to do,” she said in an interview published on entertainment portal 8days.sg on Sept 5. “We prepare our ingredients in advance but bubble tea stores weren’t allowed to operate, and so we had to clear everything within the day or throw it out.”
Lai then went on Instagram to ask if any of her followers would like to order bubble tea for home delivery and ended up with more than 100 orders in a few hours.
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She subsequently delivered their drinks personally until 3am.
“Our customers were really nice even after I told them that delivery might take a while because we couldn’t find drivers at such short notice,” said Lai, 44, who had been running Teabrary for three years. “When I said that I might only be able to send the drinks to them in the middle of the night, they all said that it was fine and told me that I could leave it outside their doors if they were asleep. That definitely helped us a lot.”
As a business owner, she also had to adapt and pivot during the pandemic, such as by introducing sandwiches to the menu, collaborating with other local F&B businesses and even hawking her bubble tea on live stream.
While she is currently busy filming long-form drama The Heartland Hero, she said she will be selective about future roles.
“What I’m focusing on now is my business. We’ve been open for about three years and it was an uphill task to get ourselves off the ground,” she said.
“I also have a lot of loyal staff who have done a lot for me from the start and that’s why I want the business to do well and grow so that it’ll benefit these staff members in the future too.”
This article was first published in The Straits Times.