United Arab Emirates

Covid: Dubai restaurant gives day’s earnings to staff

The restaurant did not lay off any of its 42 staff members during the pandemic.

A small Dubai restaurant has managed to retain its entire staff throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. What’s more, it is offering them a full day’s earnings to mark the Vietnamese Lunar New Year that begins on Thursday.

Lily Hoa Nguyen, the owner of Vietnamese Foodies, said the Lunar New Year — or Tet Nguyen Dan, as it is known in Vietnam — is traditionally a festive time when people travel to be reunited with their family members (and elders), and present Hong Pao or red envelopes, which contain a symbolic amount of money, to the younger ones.

“I feel it is important to show your staff that you care for them and appreciate their efforts. And due to the pandemic, most of our staff could not go back home to their families for almost a year. So, I planned to share a full day’s revenues — minus food costs — with them to celebrate our Lunar New Year,” said Lily, who is also the executive chef of the restaurant.

While most of the chefs of the restaurant are Vietnamese, the eatery also has a number of Filipinos, Pakistanis, Indians and Chinese employees working across its two branches in JLT and in Downtown Dubai.

The restaurant usually closes at 11pm in JLT and at midnight in downtown, but on the special day, the staff will be allowed to decide the closing hours since the day’s earnings will be divided among them, Lily told Khaleej Times.

She added: “The past 12 months have been very difficult for so many of us and we are truly fortunate to have such a wonderful team working alongside us. Their hard work and dedication throughout this trying year has been inspiring for me as an owner and I want to ensure that this year’s Tet tradition is the best yet.”

The restaurant did not lay off any of its 42 staff members during Covid-19. It also shifted all the employees to staff accommodations and provided them free transportation to their workplace to ensure safety.

“We have also managed to help 80 per cent of our staff get appointments for the first dose of Covid vaccine shots and we hope to finish the first dose on February 16. By the end of March, we aim to have 90 per cent of our staff take their second doses, completely on voluntary basis,” she said.

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