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Santan navigating through pandemic outbreak challenges

Tough times, but tougher people Lately, with the global pandemic that we are fighting together as humanity, a quote has been making its...


Tough times, but tougher people
Lately, with the global pandemic that we are fighting together as humanity, a quote has been making its rounds. It goes like this: ‘Tough times don’t last, but tough people do’.

Santan, an F&B brand which most would call the ‘new kid on the block’ resonates deeply with that quote. Setting up a restaurant business (well, any business for that matter) is no easy feat, but being thrown the pandemic and movement control order curveball was totally unexpected.

We officially opened in December 2019, and as of mid-March 2020, people could no longer come to our restaurant. We were only about to start mobilising our menu through food delivery partners! It’s crucial that everyone stays at home to #flattenthecurve and fight this virus together. So what do we do now?

As part of the larger AirAsia Group family, it has been ingrained in us that challenges are meant to be overcome.

We put our heads together and immediately identified a few things we could do to make sure that we could still operate, provide food for those who need it as well as do our part in providing opportunities of employment to those who have been affected by the movement restrictions due to the virus outbreak.

Giving back to the community, helping those in need
First, we got as many food delivery partners as possible on board so that people in the Klang Valley could still have access to our food. Then, we set up a pick-up process for those who prefer to just drive by the entrance of the mall we’re in to grab their orders. And of course, the takeaway option is always available (but not advisable, as we all need to be disciplined to #StayAtHome throughout the movement control order).

Collaboration with Food Aid Foundation.
Next, we reached out to F&B operators with underutilised or non-operating facilities and kitchens to set up satellite kitchens to prepare our food. This way, more hospitality staff will be able to continue working to earn a living, and provide revenue to the F&B operators as well.

While all of these are taking place, we saw many different groups of the community around us who are in need. Medical frontliners who don’t have enough time to get food, the less fortunate not having enough to eat or not knowing where their next meal would come from. Something surely must be done. We immediately teamed up with Food Aid Foundation to deliver over 8,000 meals to charitable homes, rehabilitation centers and feeding centers such as Rumah Kasih Harmoni Paya Kara's, Rumah Kita, PJ Caring Home and Rohingya Community. We also delivered food to four hospitals so far - Kajang Hospital, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital, University Malaya Medical Centre and Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

Hospital Donation Package Campaign

But through adversity, humanity really shines through. We received so many requests from our customers to contribute towards the cause to support our frontliners prompting us to set up the ‘Santan Hospital Donation Package’. Truly, we are #InThisTogether.


The campaign is still ongoing and those who are interested can WhatsApp us at +6018 378 2274.

Ensuring job sustainability, taking care of our own
But beyond all of these, there was one underlying problem staring at us in the face. The problem of people losing their jobs in this ‘new normal’ that we live in. Our cabin crew, pilots, ground service agents as well as others’ day-to-day jobs were affected due to the pandemic outbreak. But as we know too well, challenges are meant to be overcome.

Fatin Nur Syazwani, Flight Data Analyst at
AirAsia took the opportunity to join Santan 

family as a delivery rider.
What could be better than opening up opportunities for those affected to deliver Santan food all across the Klang Valley, enabling them to get supplementary income? To date, over 50 AirAsia Allstars from various departments have signed up to be delivery riders and actively delivering Santan food. 

In these unprecedented times, we at Santan truly believe that we should remain stronger than ever to brave through this storm of uncertainty. As a matter of fact, the Santan team has worked tirelessly to ensure that the familiar taste of Pak Nasser Nasi Lemak and other crowd favourites are available to everyone throughout this period. We hope to unite Malaysians through our love for food, whether it’s preparing them or delivering them; afterall, we are #InThisTogether.

We expect to continue to expand our service to help meet this goal. Currently, 70% of our business comes from delivery businesses, while 30% is take-away. In addition, we have been focusing on developing our menu offerings and plan to expand to frozen meals very soon.

Santan continues to find ways to give back to the community and is setting up a Ramadan e-bazaar. Stay tuned for our next post on what takes place on this exciting project.