PUTRAJAYA: Popular eateries must be sensitive to consumer sentiment when increasing their prices, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.
The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister said outlets such as KFC and McDonald’s must understand that the ministry is obliged to look after the welfare of consumers.
“Last Friday, I invited the management of QSR Brands, the operator of KFC and Pizza Hut, for a meeting.
“I presented to them the feedback of the consumers, while at the same time I listened to their explanations on why they increased their prices.
“While we are committed to creating a conducive environment for companies to conduct business, they must also understand that the ministry’s role is to look after the consumers’ welfare,” said Saifuddin at a press conference.
The meeting came after recent price hikes of KFC’s popular dishes such as the ‘Snack Plate’ and the ‘Dinner Plate’ became hotly debated on social media.
Saifuddin added that he was also scheduled to meet with the operators of McDonald’s on the issue of price hikes.
Explaining more on Friday’s meeting, Saifuddin said QSR Brands had explained that the price increase of their products was due to rising costs.
“They (QSR Brands) are holders of franchise licences. They explained that they are bound by franchise conditions. For example, they are only allowed to use ingredients provided by selected suppliers.
“So let’s say the price of cheese from their supplier has increased, they cannot switch to a different source for cheese, as it would go against the franchise agreement,” said Saifuddin.
Despite that, he said the ministry could not dictate the prices at eateries like KFC.
“We ask that they give us an official written explanation. But I cannot just call them and force them to lower their prices. That is not the role of the government,” said Saifuddin.
On another matter, he said former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s efforts to monitor price of goods were “much appreciated”.
“I am grateful that the former prime minister went down to the ground to monitor the price of goods.
“We will take action on all complaints, be it from the former prime minister or normal citizens.
“I hope the public will also appreciate Datuk Seri Najib’s keenness to become a smart consumer,” Saifuddin said.
On Sunday, Najib posted on his Facebook that traders were unhappy over rising egg prices.
Earlier, Saifuddin gave out the 2018 Excellent Service Awards to 306 staff members of his ministry.
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