Turning crisis into opportunity

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Turning crisis into opportunity

IM MI-JIN
The author is the head of fol:in team of the Joongang Ilbo.

Yoonkyung, a restaurant specializing in pork cutlet in Seongsu-dong, eastern Seoul, created a popular meal kit in early February. It was a week after the restaurant saw a notable decline in sales as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. “I’ve never made food for delivery, but I had to do something to pay my employees,” said Lee Nam-gon, owner of the restaurant. He posted a photo of the meal kits on social media and soon received orders. He drove all around Seoul to deliver the orders. “In two weeks, the sales revenue was about 10 million won ($8,200). I am thankful to say that I was able to pay three employees,” he said.

However, he could not personally deliver all of the meals himself. So he visited a production plant in Gochang, North Jeolla, to ask for their help in producing home meal kits. With an offer from the plant, he is preparing to expand to a home shopping channel. “I always thought running just a restaurant was not enough. So I used the opportunity to find a new way.”

Trevari, a service arranging book discussion groups, could not hold offline meetings beginning in late February. Instead, the team members quickly planned online Trevari meetings to share book reports and began the service in mid-March. Users receive questions related to books through an online messenger.

As they share answers to questions, they get to complete their own essays. When it opened, more than 200 people signed up for the service. Yoon Seong-won, a worker at Trevari, said that the response was better than expected. Next month, a larger session with more members is being planned. The company is also considering online book clubs.

Many people are faced with challenges due to Covid-19. The reason why I am presenting the cases of Yoonkyung and Trevari is simple. The only way to overcome a crisis is to turn it into an opportunity.

Breezm, which produces custom-made 3-D printed eyewear, produced special masks using 3-D printing last month. It is a device that prevents fine particles or viruses by keeping the mask in place and preventing a gap on the face.

Covid-19 will change many things. The prospect of transitioning offline business online is linear. We don’t know what the next crisis will be. The point is how accurately we detect a crisis, how quickly we can act and how drastically we can transform. Even my team, fol:in, which has always held live in-person conferences, will hold an online conference from April 27 to 29.

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