Cost fears dull appetite for Din Tai Fung at Tanglin Club

Cost fears dull appetite for Din Tai Fung at Tanglin Club

Concern over higher prices was a factor which led Tanglin Club members to oppose having a Chinese restaurant run by a popular Chinese eatery chain.

More than 60 per cent of members of the Tanglin Club who turned up for a Special General Meeting (SGM) last month voted against letting restaurant chain Din Tai Fung run a branch on its premises.

The issue was not so much whether the club should have a Chinese restaurant but whether it should be run in-house or by a third party.

Some among those against the club's earlier decision to outsource the food-and-beverage outlet space said external vendors may charge more than what members now pay for alcohol. Others plumped for managing all F&B outlets in-house for better management and compliance with the club's rules.

Other members against the move also expressed concern that such outlets may not make a profit unless they are open to the public - which would dilute the exclusivity of the club.

A resolution to ban such outsourcing of the club's space was eventually passed at the Dec 21 SGM: 268 members voted in favour, and 154, against. One vote was declared void.

The saga began when club president Sim Yong Chan announced last month in a letter to the club's 5,000 members that by April this year, Din Tai Fung would run a restaurant in the space now occupied by sports bar and restaurant, Tangles, which has been suffering losses of some $250,000 a year.

In the letter, he said that members had, at a Sept 30 SGM, approved investing up to $2 million into renovating Tangles into a Chinese restaurant.

The Din Tai Fung branch - which would have been the social club's first Chinese restaurant in its 148-year history - was set to be managed and run by Din Tai Fung's parent company, the BreadTalk Group.

Peter Lim, a club member since the 1970s who supports the idea to outsource the F&B space, told The Business Times that the vote at the Dec 21 SGM "may or may not unravel the tangle over Tangles".

"But my hope is that it will so that the club can proceed to give its members a quality Chinese restaurant as soon as practicable.

"Now that a clear majority at the second SGM has voted against outsourcing, I say let's live with that decision and get on with club life and good living," he said.

When contacted by BT, Mr Sim and other club representatives declined to comment on the issue.

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