- Wealthy people in Thailand are having gourmet take-out food chauffeured to them.
- Similarly, wealthy New Yorkers who fled to second homes in the Hamptons hired limo drivers deliver mail and packages.
- This is just another way the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the stark global class divide.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
AFP’s Dene-Hern Chen reports that concierge companies in the capital city of Bangkok are delivering meals from high-end and Michelin-starred restaurants to their celebrity and VIP clientele. Jakkapun Rattanapet, founder of the concierge company Silver Voyage Club, said his company restricted its business to serve those ordering takeout, and launched the White Glove Delivery service as a rewards program for those who have at least $US1 million in the bank.
The butlers, wearing white gloves, can even come in to set the table and formally present the take-out to clients, to give them as close to a true dine-in experience as possible.
Jakkapun’s transportation business took a nosedive as business travel came to a halt because of coronavirus lockdowns. He launched the reward program and pivoted into high-end food delivery as another way to make money, though Thailand is now beginning to reopen, allowing some restaurants to resume eat-in services with social distancing measures in place as of May 3.
Jakkapun told AFP that his new White Glove Delivery program is also assisting with COVID-19 aid efforts, donating 1,000 meals a day to frontline hospital workers.
Companies in the US that cater to the rich have also pivoted to stay relevant
Mark Vigliante, the president of M&V Limousine Limited and Hampton Luxury Liner, told Vice that he’d started private delivery of packages, letters, and even junk mail for clients who fled New York City for the Hamptons at the start of the outbreak in the US.
Vigliante said he had to “be innovative” to keep his company afloat and pivoted to charging “hundreds of dollars” to deliver mail to the ritzy Long Island enclave. Travel has been one of the hardest-hit sectors amid the pandemic, forcing travel- and hospitality-related businesses across the world to adapt to their new reality.
Over 22 million people in Thailand have registered for government assistance amid the pandemic. And though AFP reports that Thailand is one of the most unequal nations in the world, it did not make 24/7 Wall Street’s 2019 list of the top 15 economically unequal countries in the world – unlike the United States, which ranked No. 9. There are currently 27 billionaires in Thailand, according to Forbes, compared with America’s 614 billionaires.