By NUR HANANI AZMAN
SANTAN Cafe Sdn Bhd, a restaurant brand by AirAsia Group Bhd, plans to open its second restaurant outlet in Sunway Pyramid, Subang Jaya, in the third quarter of 2020 as it believes market will pick up starting July.
Santan, which started out as AirAsia’s in-flight menu brand, officially opened its flagship restaurant at Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur in December 2019.
“We remain optimistic and are planning to increase the number of local entrepreneurs in Malaysia which would be very helpful in improving our economy, especially in the next year or two.
“Our aggressive expansion plan for Santan franchise includes an affordable package aimed at nurturing more entrepreneurs in Malaysia and Asean,” Santan GM Catherine Goh told The Malaysian Reserve recently.
Other plans for the company include expanding their line of ready-to-eat meals and growing merchandise items on e-commerce platforms such as Shopee Malaysia, Lazada and OurShop.
“We are also leveraging data and using it in our marketing which have proven successful as we see an increase in traction, followers and engagement.
“We believe Santan’s menu is relatable, local and appeals to the masses at an accessible price point which people miss and love, especially during the Movement Control Order (MCO),” she said.
Santan is now open for dine-in, while adhering to social-distancing measures, as well as takeaway and deliveries.
Most of the orders are still predominantly via delivery with an increasing number of orders coming from dine-in and takeaway.
Goh said setting up a restaurant business is no easy feat, but being thrown the pandemic and MCO curveball were totally unexpected.
Santan was only about to start mobilising their menu through food delivery partners when Phase 1 of the MCO was implemented.
Previously, over 50 AirAsia Allstars — who include cabin crew, pilots, ground service agents and those in day-to-day jobs — have signed up to become Santan’s delivery riders.
“At the moment, we are still tapping on our Allstars who have signed up to be our delivery riders and continue to provide supplementary income for them,” said Goh.
Low-cost carrier AirAsia resumed its scheduled domestic flights in Malaysia on April 29, followed by Thailand on May 1, Indonesia on May 7 and the Philippines on May 16, subject to approval of the authorities.
Meanwhile, Santan has also introduced a digital initiative to support micro, small and independent vendors selling Ramadhan delicacies to continue their businesses on santan.com.my from April 23-May 23.
The initiative has so far helped eight local businesses to market their products such as kuih talam by Seri Talam Cat Cafe, nasi dagang Terengganu (gulai ikan tongkol) by Gamelan Restaurant, kuih ketayap by My Little Cake Shoppe, kerepek kentang sira super crunchy by AirAsia cabin crew Md Arif Kasim and more.