Eateries looking at different ways to stay afloat

A food delivery employee picking up an order at a shopping mall food court in Bayan Lepas, Penang, as people are not allowed to dine-in at eateries during the movement control order (MCO) 2.0.

BUSINESS operators are bracing for a tough time dealing with the no dine-in policy during the second movement control order (MCO) period.

Beef noodle stall manager Joanne Ang said there were hardly any customers with delivery and takeaway services being the order of the day.

“We just hope things will be better as we have partnered with a host of delivery service providers.

“Most people would order food delivery, just like during the previous MCO last year, ” she said at her stall at a shopping mall food court in Bayan Lepas, Penang, recently.

Ang said she had reduced the number of workers from five to two to keep the business afloat.

“This could help cut cost but definitely not enough to cover our operating expenses.

“We are now thinking of coming up with offers, promotions and set meals to attract customers.

“We need more time to think as the MCO started all of a sudden, ” she added.

From now until Jan 26, eateries in states under MCO are allowed to operate but can only provide takeaway service.

Food delivery services will be allowed while supermarkets, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and banks in MCO areas can also operate under strict guidelines.

At a Yong Tau Foo stall in the same food court, worker Muhammad Ali Ashadul, 33, said he expected business to be difficult due to the ‘no dine-in’ policy.

“The fact that we only cater for takeaways does not help.

“As it is hard and not practical for a yong tau foo business to do takeaway, we did not partner with any delivery service provider.

“This makes it even harder for us to sustain our business, ” he said.

A chicken rice stall worker, who wanted to be known as Lee, said they had been partnering with delivery service providers and relying solely on that.

“During the MCO, people hardly come out and since many people will be working from home,

fewer people will come and get takeaways themselves.

“As such, it is more practical for us to make use of the delivery services.

“Although it will not earn us a lot, it helps deduct operating expenses, ” he said.

Elsewhere, shops selling cosmetics, clothes, jewelleries, shoes and other non-essential items at the mall were found to be closed.

The Taman Tun Sardon hawker centre, which is usually crowded with customers, looked almost deserted on the first day of the MCO 2.0.

Many were seen leaving quickly after getting their food.

Over at the Taman Tun Sardon market, a fishmonger who declined to be named, said market-goers seem calmer now compared to during the first MCO.

“For safety reasons, we advised customers to perform cashless transactions, ” he said.

Trader Norhan Abdullah, 54, who sells household items there, said business had dropped as the people’s buying power had decreased.

“Although the number of market-goers increased over the past few days, business at my stall has not improved.

“I am worried about the situation as it is getting worse by the day.

“The traders here have employed a worker to make sure that customers adhere strictly to the standard operating procedures, especially during weekends when there is a huge crowd, ” she said.

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