COVID-19 showcases ‘sense of family’ at Fab Foods
For the team at Fab Foods, the closing up of the entirety of their workplace on March 20th struck a death knell. Questions of day to day survival arose, uncertainty prevailed and families dependent on their breadwinner were unsure of what lay ahead.But surprises were in store! Each of the 527 workforce began getting text messages exactly on the day their salaries would have been paid in other months. Full salaries had been deposited, overtime and allowances too credited. The pattern echoed in April too, a month where the doors of The Fab remained firmly shut due to COVID-19 regulations.
For Demi Chef L K Roshini who was now counting her 24th year at Fab, there were tears of relief. “Getting our salary, overtime, festival advance and even our allowances even though Fab was closed and not making any money was something that no-one other than one’s own family would do. We even had care packs delivered to us.”
Account Executive Elilarasi Kanapathipillai had similar sentiments. While others working elsewhere were grappling with reduced salaries, she says, “How fortunate are we to work for Fab. No one else would have done this for us, I’m sure.”
And it is this sense of family that has kept Fab, which began as a single entrepreneur’s dream “to give quality food to Colombo” forging ahead to have 24 outlets and a 527 strong team that have unshakable foundations of loyalty for their management. As Restaurant Manager Nilimina Jayasinghe says, “We really wanted to give back to the amazing people who we call our bosses for their unmatched generosity. That’s why we were keen to return to work and get back to business.”
It was this big-heartedness seen in Managing Director Hemantha Perera and the Board of Directors at Fab that drove Head of Operations Raymond Samuel to go public about the team’s experiences. “When leaders care enough to worry about their team and look after them despite having no business income, that is when we see true leaders.”
HR Manager Janitha Pallegedara who worked with the MD in getting the payments organized sums up, stating, “When big companies were laying off people, cutting salaries or paying the bare minimum, what I saw here was humane leadership and care for others. They treated us like family and in troubled times, took us under their wing and cared for us.”
Therefore when Fab reopened end April, the team took up their creative tools and were back at work without any hesitation, working unitedly to put health and safety factors in place and Fab became operational within days.