Prepared in Jan 2021 by students of Epoka University
The Lockdown Economy is the United Nations registered initiative by the Think Tank AlterContacts to help small businesses overcome the challenges of the pandemic. This interview and its analysis were done in collaboration with Epoka University.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an economic crisis all over the world. The Albanian government announced a two-months lockdown on March 12, 2020. That in turn caused many businesses to temporarily stay closed.
Some businesses in Albania managed to overcome the challenges imposed by the pandemic. In the Lockdown Economy interview, we spoke with Fatmir Zhguni, the general manager of Capitol Restaurant in Tirana, Albania.
We discussed the difficulties encountered by the restaurant in this situation. Due to the lockdown, the restaurant was closed for two months. This has resulted in significant losses because Fatmir had to continue paying rent and salaries. But he managed to pay his employees.
Capitol restaurant specializes in halal cuisine and their main customers are the Muslim community. Unfortunately, the lockdown overlapped with the month of Ramadan. To improve their position, Fatmir’s strategy was to provide delivery service but that meant a limited number of customers.
Fatmir also spoke about his plans for the future. Before the lockdown, he was planning to open two or three new branches. But due to economic difficulties, these plans were postponed until they recovered from the losses caused by the pandemic. According to Fatmir, the government did not provide any major assistance to businesses during the pandemic. Although, if it would introduce support measures in the future, small businesses could benefit from a discount on taxes, subsidies to pay salaries.