Restaurateurs implement salary cuts, reduce shifts

Customers queuing for takeaway food in Kuala Lumpur city centre as dine-ins are prohibited during the MCO. — Filepic

EATERIES in Klang Valley have resorted to lowering their operating costs by reducing staff and implementing pay cut for its workers following the lockdown.

Restaurateurs told StarMetro that they anticipated heavy losses amid already dwindling sales due to the lack of dine-in customers.

In Setiawangsa, Kuala Lumpur, Restoran Ali’s Bistro owner Mohd Ashraf Mohd Ariff, 43, said he reduced the working shifts at his eatery.

“Before the movement control order and lockdown, we were operating from 6am to 4pm and 4pm to midnight.

“Now my workers will only do a single shift. Due to the reduced workload, their working days and days off will be alternated,” he said, adding that he had also cut the salary of 10 employees.

Mohd Ashraf said his restaurant would stop taking orders at 7.30pm in order to comply with the government’s directive for eateries to close by 8pm.

Senior Minister (Defence) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob on May 22 announced a new set of restrictions which, among others, stated that eateries were only allowed to operate from 8am to 8pm.

On June 11, the government announced a two-week extension of the lockdown that was initially supposed to end today, to June 28 instead.

A check by StarMetro on eateries in several areas in Setiawangsa and Taman Melawati found that the majority of eateries had put up makeshift barriers to stop people from entering.

Customers were required to scan the QR code via MySejahtera before placing their orders at designated spots.

At the Taman Melawati food court, hawker Nurfitriyana Ramlan, 21, said she would buy ingredients daily instead of weekly.

“I usually buy in bulk at the Chow Kit market, but with the new restrictions I will buy in smaller amounts as I am unsure how much sales I can make,” she said.

The newly-wed who sells nasi lemak, lontong and mee soto for breakfast was considering closing her business temporarily if poor sales continued.

“I used to open around 6am to cater to the working crowd in the area to buy breakfast before work.

“But now with the 8am restriction, I am not sure if I can sell as much,” she said.

Nurfitriyana, who recently signed up with a e-hailing service, said sales via delivery hardly made up for losses at her premises.

Restoran Al Bidayah in Setiawangsa reduced the working hours for each shift for its 12 employees.

Its manager Sirajuddin Jainuddin, 43, said workers would work a six-hour shift instead of eight from 8am to 2pm and 2pm to 8pm.

“Business is already slow and we expect it to be slower in the days to come,” he said.

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