A MONTH after the Goods and Services Tax (GST) came into effect, some coffeeshops and cafes in Ipoh increased their prices, while some chose to retain theirs.
To find out the business owners’ side of the story, and learn what their customers have to say, Metroperak went to the ground to find out.
At the popular Kong Heng Coffeeshop on Jalan Bandar Timah, prices for its crowd-pleasing laksa and popiah remain the same.
They are still being sold at RM4 per bowl and plate respectively.
One of the stall workers, who declined to be named, said they did not plan to raise the price as they could still sustain business expenses so far.
“It has only been a month, and we haven’t seen any big difference in our earnings yet.
“I think it is still manageable for now,” she said.
At the coffeeshop’s Ipoh Chicken Prawn Koay Teow stall, the price for a small bowl of noodles is still RM5.50, while a big bowl costs RM6.50.
One of its workers, who also declined to be named, said it was simply because their business was not making enough to qualify for GST registration.
“Most of our ingredients are homemade too, so the costs do not eat into our expenses too much.
“Besides, if we raise our prices, I’m worried that my customers will be unhappy and will prefer to go to our competitor’s stalls instead,” he said.
He also added that on days they weren’t making enough, he simply has to live frugally based on his earnings.
“My family and I are already used to it,” he said.
At Kong Heng, businessman Jason Koo, 35, said he was happy that the prices for food at the coffeeshop have not changed since GST.
“I am from Kuala Lumpur, and I only get to savour the delicious food in Ipoh during long weekends or holidays.
“It is even nicer to know that the food here is still cheap compared to the capital city.
“I will definitely show my support for Kong Heng more when I’m around since their prices have not changed and just like us, they are working hard to earn a living,” he said.
Likewise at Restoran Kamwan Aneka Selera, or more popularly known as “Dong Gu Teng,” in Canning Garden, prices for its wantan noodles have not changed, and they remain at RM5 for a bowl of barbecued pork wantan noodles.
Their prawn wantan noodles is still sold at RM4.50, and a plain bowl of wantan noodles is sold at RM3.80.
The Nasi Lemak Biasa and Berlauk stall has retained its prices as well.
A normal nasi lemak costs RM3, while with rendang daging costs RM5.80, and rendang kambing is sold at RM6.
However, at their drinks stall, prices have been raised, ranging from 10 to 20 sen.
White coffee and teh ice, which used to cost RM1.90, are now priced at RM2.
Milo ice and Nescafe ice, previously priced at RM2.40, are sold at RM2.60 now.
A regular customer, homemaker Phan Lee Lian, 53, said she did not mind the price changes in the drinks as much as she did for food.
“It is just a 10 sen difference for a herbal tea drink which I used to order, so I think it’s all right.
“I am still glad that the wantan noodles I love so much is still the same price as it was before GST,” she said.
For cafes in Ipoh, things are slightly different at Patisserie Boutique on Jalan Sultan Yussuf, as certain food and drinks prices have been raised after April 1.
Its staff member, Chin Kar Wai, pointed out that price differences are mostly only about RM1 to RM2, and it was because their ingredients supplier had raised their prices too.
“Our alfredo dishes now cost RM19 after a RM1 raise. The creamy walnut pasta, which used to be RM14, is now RM16.
“We have also raised prices for some drinks such as the cappuccino, latte, mocha, hot chocolate and ice espresso, but only by RM1,” she said.
Regular customer Choo Chien Hui, 21, said she was a little disappointed over the price hikes at her favourite cafe.
“I really love their smoked duck sandwich a lot, and it’s sad to know that I have to pay RM2 more for it now.
“I guess this can’t be avoided because many businesses in the country have to sign up for GST if they are eligible.
“But as a student, I might have to think twice before I can visit cafes that have GST now due to my limited monthly allowance,” she said.
Meanwhile, at Espresso Lab in Canning Garden, senior barista Andrew Cheng said prices are still the same as prior to GST because they were not eligible for registration.
“So far, we can still cope with expenses. Many customers are very happy too and we can keep our regular customers, and encourage new customers to come in,” he said.
One of their customers, a doctor who wished to be known only as Ho, in his 40s, said it was nice that the prices were unchanged because some of their items were quite expensive.
“I love their coffee. Their beans are from the premium range, so at least I think their prices are justified,” he said.
Another customer, businessman Andrew Khoo, 28, said it was a good thing that food and drinks at Espresso Lab cost the same now.
“GST is such a new system to all of us in different aspects.
“I am just glad that I get to enjoy a good cup of coffee at a place where their prices are not affected by the new tax system,” he said.