Win-win situation as The Cantina @ USJ gets top-class help

Following the mantra of ‘kita jaga kita‘, Christine Teo and Lim Soon Keat of The Cantina @ USJ have been employing cabin crew to work for nearly a year.

The cafe-bistro, in USJ 9, Subang Jaya, suffered a dip in business due to the Covid-19 pandemic but is looking towards better days.

It has moved to a bigger venue, doors away from its former place. It is also keeping costs down by hiring part-time staff.

The duo decided on the novel idea of hiring flight attendants as they were hit hard by the pandemic due to the reduced number of flights worldwide.

“Everyone has suffered because of Covid-19. Many businesses closed down and travel has been severely restricted,” said Teo.

“We got to know many cabin crew who frequented our place before the pandemic. As such, when we were allowed to reopen, we decided to help by offering them part-time jobs.”

International Air Transport Association (IATA) director-general and chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac had in February described 2020 as “a catastrophe” for the aviation industry. Airlines worldwide were forced to downsize.

“We have several cabin crew members working on rotation. Some were let go and needed part-time work to keep busy while others help out in between whatever flights they have,” said Teo.

“It is a way of helping each other. A win-win situation. We get top-class helpers and they earn some extra cash in their spare time.”

Twentytwo13 readers Julia Nicholas and husband Ranjit Singh, who were at The Cantina @ USJ recently, said they were impressed by the service.

“We were regulars before the pandemic hit,” said Nicholas.

“But we were there recently as a friend (Mary Jackson) had a small birthday celebration. The food, as usual, was excellent.

“Ranjit noticed the way the ‘new’ staff attended to the guests – there was an attentiveness – a certain kind of flair and the general demeanour was different. Later we found out the staff used to work in the airlines,” added Nicholas.

Lim, the ‘master chef’ who has got people craving for his Penang char kuey teow, said the arrangement has helped them.

“At the moment, it is only Christine and me who are full-time. Our new place can host 40 people at a time, double the capacity of the former place,” said Lim.

“It made sense for us to move as we had to make sure we had enough space because of the standard operating procedures.

“Most of the time, the cabin crew comes in on Fridays and Saturdays to help out although if we have an event, we try to get them in for a few extra days,” he added.