Now with three locations in the Vancouver region, Mr. Red Cafe is a go-to place for Vancouver residents to enjoy authentic Vietnamese food. Unlike other Vietnamese restaurants that focus on Southern Vietnamese cuisine, Mr. Red Cafe offers Northern favourites like Pho and other classic noodle-based dishes. Owners Rose & Hong (Mr. Red himself) take pride in how traditional and unique they’ve been able to keep their establishment, even as they’ve grown.
Prioritizing their dine-in experience, Mr. Red Cafe had never offered delivery prior to the pandemic. Around 20% of their sales were takeout and customers could physically come and pick up their orders, with the remaining 80% of their sales coming from guests dining-in. Now left with only 50% of the dine-in capacity they once had, Mr. Red Cafe has registered with third-party delivery apps for the first time and operated purely on takeout and delivery until mid-June. They’ve been open for dine-in for two months now, but delivery and takeout still remain dominant, making up 60% of all sales.
“In the long run delivery won’t take over dine-in, because people like the atmosphere and quality of food that comes with dine-in.” Explains Ha Pham, Manager of all three locations. “People are still hesitant to dine-in, and there’s still a lot of uncertainty. We still have lineups because our capacity is limited, but overall we have fewer customers than before COVID.”
But the difficulties for local businesses like Mr. Red Cafe extend far beyond takeout and delivery logistics. Unable to qualify for the loan issued by the Canadian government, the restaurant had to get creative with their finances and reduce their opening hours to cut whatever fixed costs they could.
Despite the struggles that Mr. Red Cafe has faced over the course of this pandemic, they remain positive. Their mission is to serve Vancouver residents authentic Northern Vietnamese dishes, and they will do whatever they can to continue doing so.
“We’re so thankful for everyone’s support during these hard times. People have come in to check on us and have been extremely sympathetic.” States Ha. “Hopefully, this will be over soon and we’ll slowly recover. We hope we can stick around!”
For more information on Mr. Red Cafe, please visit https://www.mrredcafe.ca.