Eatery operators frustrated with no dine-in rule again

Empty restaurants once again in the Klang Valley following the latest MCO.

RESTAURANT owners in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor are tired and frustrated that the food and beverage industry has to repeatedly bear the brunt of the movement control order.

They said the blanket ban on dine-in was unnecessary.

Restaurant and Bistro Owners Association media liaison Jeremy Lim said the “delivery and take-away only” business model would not work for medium to high-end restaurants as they had big overheads including rental, material cost and staff salaries.

“For the past year, we have fought tooth and nail to sustain our business and pull through.

“The government must understand that not every food and beverage business can adopt the delivery model without jeopardising our employees’ livelihood.

“Sure, you are stuck at home and you want to order a pizza.

“No one will spend the same amount on food delivery as they will in a restaurant.

“When you dine in at a restaurant, the price includes the service, the experience and fresh high quality ingredients, ” he told StarMetro.

Lim said the authorities did not understand restaurant owners’ predicament.

“Delivery partners take a huge cut, between 30% and 36%.

“We restaurateurs are not making much money.

“In a month, from a revenue of between RM300,000 and RM500,000, our net take home profit is under 5%.

“Now, factor in the delivery of 30%. Do we cut the staff salary?” he said.

He highlighted that the delivery model worked as an additional revenue stream for eateries like nasi kandar shops and hawkers, which already had a takeaway culture.

“I am not about to let my staff go, it is a huge responsibility on my part, ” he added.

After the first MCO last year, Lim noted, the rule of two to a table still helped generate income.

“The second MCO took the wind out of my team.

“Our business declined by more than 40%, ” he said, adding that the “open-close, open-close ruling” was taking a toll on them.

Meatology Restaurant and Bar owner and chef Yenni Law said it was unfair to blame the restaurants when these places were not the cause of the Covid-19 clusters.

“As professionals, we follow strict standard operating procedure in the restaurant and sanitise the premises thoroughly, including getting typhoid jabs.

“We pay the sales and services tax (SST) every two months to the government, so the government should consider this before imposing a blanket ban on restaurants, ” she added.

Sean Ooi, co-founder of Strangers at 47 in Section 17, Petaling Jaya felt the latest MCO would be easier to mitigate.

One plus point was that the eatery had more variety on the menu.

“Our restaurant only served crepes before the MCO, but now we have burgers, sandwiches and pasta on our menu.

Ooi said the restaurant, however, had suffered an 80% drop in revenue when they could only do takeaways because 90% of sales came from dine-ins.

“This industry has to bear the full brunt every time even though we abide by the SOP, ” he said.

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dine-ins , Covid-19 , MCO , Selangor


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