Thursday, February 22, 2024
HomediningSingapore hawker burger chain Ashes Burnnit closes New York outlet at Urban...

Singapore hawker burger chain Ashes Burnnit closes New York outlet at Urban Hawker food centre

Popular Muslim-owned hawker burger chain Ashes Burnnit closed its sole New York City outlet in September this year due to economic uncertainty and difficulties in obtaining a permanent working visa.

This closure comes about a year after its official opening at Singapore-style hawker food centre Urban Hawker in September 2022.

Speaking to local publication Berita Harian, Ashes Burnnit founder Lee Syafiq Muhd Ridzuan Lee said: “Even though we received a great reception in the first three months after opening, it became harder in the following months. For instance, we managed to get temporary visas for our Singaporean staff here but failed to get permanent working visas for them.”

Lee also cited the high operating costs of running a stall in New York City. For instance, the salary of a cook in the United States can exceed US$4,000 (S$5,361) a month, after taxes – which is more than twice the average salary of a cook in Singapore.

That being said, Lee felt that the greatest challenge was to manage operations in both Singapore and New York simultaneously. The 13-hour-time difference between the two countries made it difficult to balance both operations and limited his free time with his family.

Nonetheless, Lee appears to have taken his setback in stride and does not regret his decision to open a New York outlet.

“The experience has taught me how to open a business overseas and manage staff members of different nationalities.

“It’s now time to re-strategise and focus on the six outlets in Singapore.”

However, Lee has still not given up on his dreams of opening a stall in New York and aims to do so by early 2024.

“I don’t want to back down and if you never try, you’ll never know.

“What’s important is that I don’t regret whatever I’ve tried.”

Related:

‘The wok hei was amazing’: What it’s really like to eat Singapore food at New York’s Urban Hawker
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