Coronavirus forces Em Kebabs to adapt to rapid changes

Kelsey ReidKalgoorlie Miner
Em Kebabs workers Shanice McGlen and Tee Alvarez.
Camera IconEm Kebabs workers Shanice McGlen and Tee Alvarez. Credit: Kelsey Reid

One local kebab shop has quickly realised the importance of adapting to the times during the COVID-19 outbreak, as people heed advice to self-isolate and stay at home.

Eric Hamdan has run EM Kebabs on Maritana Street since 2006 and said he had never seen things look so grim.

“The numbers don’t look all that great, I’m trading at 50 per cent less than usual trade,” he said.

“I’ve been here for 14 years and I’ve never traded this bad,” he said.

“Never.

“People are too scared to come out.”

Mr Hamdan has had to make some quick decisions about the way he operates the store and has rapidly implemented changes to keep the business alive,

“We’re doing what we’re doing but because of this COVID thing it has affected business big time, not just myself but everybody and one of them is I need to start doing delivery.

“I never wanted to do delivery but my hand has been forced and I’m going to start doing delivery, so as of yesterday we started it but we just have to start advertising and putting it out there.

“After looking at yesterday’s numbers, I’m going to have to change my trading hours to suit because I can’t afford wages.”

With pubs closed indefinitely from last Monday, the kebab shop’s usual weekend takings are also expected to take a hit.

“I’m thinking for the worst and hoping for the best,” Mr Hamdan said.

At present, Em Kebabs has no social media and no website, a personal choice of Mr Hamdan, who chooses to promote his business in the newspaper, through pamphlets and by sponsoring local sporting teams and clubs.

But now he is reconsidering the power of an online presence.

“I don’t have a Facebook page, I don’t like to get into this keyboard warriors business but my worker is linked to other Kalgoorlie pages and groups so she’s advertised on there for us.

“So we put the word out that way.

“I think I’m going to have to do (get a Facebook for the business)

“If we don’t adjust we’re not going to be here for much longer.”

Em Kebabs opens at 10am everyday to cater for workers’ smoko breaks but at the moment it is taking up to two hours for the store to get its first customer of the day.

“There is no cars anywhere on the strip,” he said. “I’m a business person, I am a numbers person.

“For the Government to say it will be six months, it’s not going to turn back on straight away, because people still aren’t going to have money, people still don’t have jobs. We’re talking about another two years before it is 50 per cent of what it was.

“I don’t know what we are going to do.

“We’ve asked for rental assistance from the landlord, still waiting on that.

Times are tough, they really are.”

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