In mid-2020, East Java had become the province with the highest Covid-19 cases. This then has a direct impact on many business actors there, including Otello Gelateria, one of Cashlez Merchants located in Malang City. Through an online interview conducted with Cashlez, Jimmy Pranata, the owner & chef Otello Gelateria shared the direct impact he and the Otello Gelateria team faced as well as tips for developing a business in the food and beverages sector.
During the Covid-19 emergency period, Otello Gelateria’s sales rate had dropped significantly. This has a direct impact on stock turnover and shelf life of these raw materials. Not only that, the Otello Gelateria team must also manage the allocation of operational costs that are directly related to the product and raw material maintenance system. In addition, Jimmy, who is the owner of the business, also has responsibility for the employees who work at Otello Gelateria. He tries hard to keep employees and their income out of the way.
In the midst of unexpected conditions such as the current pandemic, Jimmy, who acts as Head Chef, Operational Manager, Logistics, and the R&D Department, said that to maintain business, the first thing that must be prioritized is product quality. So, business actors need to provide reliable products for customers. Otello Gelateria itself is a specialist in the fields of gelato, coffee and Italian fusion cuisine. The main product, namely gelato / sorbetto, is 100% natural artisan, so it does not use preservatives, developers or artificial coloring.
Jimmy Pranata - Owner & Chef Otello Gelateria
Jimmy, who is also interested in mixology, is also motivated to always work and create new products, such as classic coffee that combines with other ingredients to become guava coffee or Vietnamese drip mango. While for the main menu at Otello Gelateria, Jimmy combines recipes and cooking techniques. from other countries which are processed into various foods, such as Otello’s Burger, Aglio Olio, and Chili Onion Chicken.
Apart from product quality, Jimmy and the team also prioritize service quality. Therefore, every Otello Gelateria staff is required to implement 3S, namely smile, compliments, and greetings to customers and always try to get feedback from customers on the quality of the products and services provided. That’s why, when we visit Otello Gelateria, we can fill out the guest comment card. The cards that have been filled out by the customer are then used as evaluation material for Otello Gelateria as a whole.
So, how will Jimmy and the other Otello Gelateria team face challenges during a pandemic? Of course, the entire Otello Gelateria team implemented health protocols according to government recommendations. Before entering, the visitor’s body temperature will be checked first. In addition, Otello Gelateria provides touchless washbasins and hand sanitizers for customers. The number of customer chairs and tables is also reduced, in accordance with social distancing recommendations. Jimmy also made sure that every staff on duty was in good health and used masks, face shields, and hand gloves.
During the new normal period, there is a change in operating hours at Otello Gelateria, which opens later and closes early. This business place, which was opened on December 1, 2019, also provides Cashlez which is equipped with various non-cash payment options to help staff and customers reduce direct contact when making transactions. Jimmy and the Otello Gelateria staff were also greatly helped by the system of recording transactions and automatic settlement schedules which allowed them to focus on other business needs.
Learning from Jimmy’s experience, we may not be able to control what we will face as business actors. However, we can control how we respond to the challenges we face and make it a reference for continuing to grow. For Jimmy, in a pandemic situation like that time, it is important for business actors to support each other and contribute to reducing the risk of transmission of the Covid-19 Virus in Indonesia. If we can support each other, then we will be able to survive and get through this situation.