Yes Philippines News Magazine interviews Dotty Mendoza, owner of Manila Supermarket on bouncing back to the new normal, safety protocols they implement and their hopes and dreams even during these challenging times.

  1. Briefly describe the new normal awaiting your customers.
    Patience and understanding will be the key factor at this point as safety for our customers and staff is our priority. We will still aim to deliver our seamless customer service and find ways to make sure we serve everyone. We have introduced home deliveries! Also we will introduce social distancing and service will be slower than it was like before the “New Normal”
  2. What are the primary reasons why you think it is important to reopen establishments at this time?
    I believe it is important to reopen Manila Supermarket at this stage as we know that many people and families have missed all the products we offer, food does bring families together and it gives people a chance to buy products for their family members that are not able to leave the house to bring them a taste from home they have been missing since we closed our shops… As the weather is also changing many of our customers will be craving “Halo halo” and running out of jasmine rice! many other products from food to cosmetics. I believe it is in everyone’s benefit to reopen the doors of Manila supermarket. Yet it’s imperative we put safety measures in place.
  3. What are the significant values we need to keep in mind in dealing with the new normal?
    Although we have never fully shut the business, it was crucial that we took a step back, process through governments advice as well as to apply necessary precautions. Having best intentions at heart, we reminded ourselves how important food supply is in our community. It creates comfort, unity and acts as a safety net during times of challenge.
    When did you realize that the time is right to reopen your doors to the public? What were your particular motivations?
    Many of our customers are key workers, seeing them preparing shopping for long shift ahead is tremendously fulfilling! Our aim is to feed everyone and reassure all, that we will constantly do our best to alter our service to current demands. We are in this together and united we will stay safe.
    Patience and calm approach exude wildly, we believe that through trust, courage and mutual respect we will overcome obstacles that lay ahead of us!

  4. How did you come up with the guidelines for your reopening? What are the major changes you did with your business operations, to stay in business whilst coping with the new normal?
    We needed to act imminently. Management being qualified as high risk had to lead the team remotely. We have supported the business with modern approach, doing our best to support Manila’s most vulnerable customers.
    Through social media and call system we’ve created home delivery service as well as very successful “shop and collect” order patterns to minimise physical contact.
    Our entire team uses qualified PPE at all times, there is sanitising gel and gloves available to customers. Something that unfortunately not all are able to provide as a business expense.

  5. What are the biggest challenges you will face in the reopening? How do you ensure that government standards are still followed?
    Not everyone is willing to take precautions, despite fear and anguish other people have experienced, but I believe a persistent approach and thorough explanation of its significance would help to ensure why government safety standards should be followed.
  6. In your opinion, how capable are establishments in ensuring the safety and security of clients and customers? Why do you say so? Does the same apply to your store?
    This is a serious matter happening around the world now. I believe business owners should strictly impose necessary measures to control the spread of the coronavirus.
    Those who are from the industry, and who belong to the same category, I would strongly emphasise safety measures for the benefit of clients and costumers.

  7. What message would you like to say to your workforce? How about to your customers and clients?
    I would like to thank my staff for the hard work and dedication during these difficult times and making sure everyone was staying safe whilst also satisfying our customers as the store temporarily opened only for collections and home delivery.
    To our customers I would like to say a massive thank for the support and understanding. I hope everyone has been safe and well and looking forward to seeing everyone soon again.

  8. What is the most important reminder you would like to tell your customers?
    That everyone should have that kind of patience and mental flexibility to adapt the new phase of life that we are passing through. This is a situation that brought a lot of changes and challenge in our lives but we need to understand and face the fact of life.
    To ensure safety of our clients and customers, we made sure to have extra staff to stand by the doors and control the entry of shoppers in groups. Only a maximum of three costumers are allowed entry in one go, while anti-bacterial gel is always available in the till.

    Our staff were trained to wipe constantly all surfaces within the shop premises while proper usage of mask and gloves is a responsible obligation of all. There’s also an abundant supply of hot and cold water with soap and electric dryers for our staff and costumers who want to wash their hands before and after shopping. We sometimes provide face masks and gloves for those who come into the shop without them. Despite difficulty and struggle in dealing with all the tasks, I believe it’s vital a need to strictly impose this practice for the safety of everyone.

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