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Kevin Tan: Fast action on the road to recovery

By MILLET M. MANANQUIL, The Philippine STAR Published Feb 24, 2021 4:00 pm

Something nice and refreshing is happening in lifestyle malls.

In Uptown Bonifacio, a fresh wind blows as diners are now enjoying al fresco dining at Wildflour Cafe’s biggest outlet, as if in time for summer. It is a signal that diners are now looking to breathe fresh air and enjoy good food in outdoor dining areas.

 Top breakfast and cafe chain Wildflour Cafe recently opened its biggest branch at Uptown Bonifacio in Taguig City.

“We are creating new ambience and the patio dining experience,” says Kevin Tan, Megaworld’s chief strategy officer. He is also happy at the turnout in Mary Grace’s biggest branch in Newport Mall, and McDonald’s biggest outlet in the country in the Capitol Town township in Pampanga.

 Newport Mall in Pasay City recently welcomed Mary Grace Cafe’s biggest branch, which features an expansive dining area that can seat more than 60 people even with social distancing.

Townships are the pioneering creation of Megaworld with its “live, work, play” concept for the future. Tan explains: “The township idea has proven advantageous in these health-conscious times as we can control the entrance and exit of people.”

With a mixture of creativity and technology, Tan says Megaworld is moving forward in these challenging times.  “At the start of the pandemic in the country last year, we created a centralized system of monitoring health. We also enabled food trucks, pop-ups and drive-throughs.”

Using the contactless strategy in retail, Tan says the establishment of Viber communities, advance ordering, curbside pickups and cashless payment through tie-ups with PayMaya and GCash have been beneficial.

Megaworld’s homegrown delivery app, Pick.A.Roo, actually conceived in 2018 but launched at a crucial time six months ago, has proven to be such a retail game changer.

“Pick.A.Roo delivers within one hour in Metro Manila for its 500 brands in 27 categories,” explains Tan. “Its credit-card penetration of 75 percent is the highest among delivery apps.”

 Pick.A.Roo is an all-in-one, on-demand premium lifestyle delivery app launched under Agile Digital Ventures, Megaworld’s own start-up fund established in 2019.

Speaking of creativity, don’t forget that Megaworld did the first floating cinema at the Venice Grand Canal Mall.

Call it vision, call it compassion, but Kevin Tan is one business leader who moves forward very fast.

When the pandemic broke out in the country a year ago, Tan went into action quite swiftly. 

 “The Deck” on the fourth level of Uptown Mall, including Texas Roadhouse, offers a unique outdoor dining experience complete with a view of the Fort Bonifacio skyline and the St. Gabriel the Archangel Chapel.

Immediately he saw the need to help by donating thousands of meals to frontliners. Megaworld provided board, lodging and transportation to store employees. It allotted a total of P4.1 B in resources to help the community and the underprivileged.

Knowing that the retail industry faces a most challenging time, Megaworld waived a total of P2.5 B in rental charges to its tenants in its 20 malls since March 2020.

 Guests can pay their parking fees conveniently using online payment platforms, such as GCash.

Some 86 percent of its mall tenants who went into hibernation have reopened. “We want to enhance the business of retailers and food tenants so that they survive and thrive,” says Tan. “There is a symbiotic relationship between retail and real estate.”

As the country looks forward to the recovery of the economy with the arrival of the vaccines, Tan says: “Our roadmap for 2021 goes beyond profit. We look forward to fulfill our role as catalyst for growth and support for our retail partners on their road to recovery.”

 Alfresco dining areas in Twin Lakes offer a spectacular view of the majestic Taal Lake.

The al fresco dining in Megaworld’s malls is perhaps a symbol of hopeful, better times ahead with the surge of fresh air.

Banner photo: Megaworld chief strategy officer Kevin L. Tan, and the Newport Mall’s expansive Grand Wing, which offers exciting new spots for shoppers and diners.