Food sellers hang on for better days

Keeping it going: Food truck operator Amirul Fazdli Raduan taking an order from a customer at Jalan Tasik Permaisuri 1 in Kuala Lumpur. — AZMAN GHANI/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Food business owners in the Klang Valley anticipate slower business during the movement control order but they are optimistic that things will improve soon.

As the MCO entered its second day yesterday, burger vendor Muhammad Basir Abu Bakar, 41, said his business had slowed down by about 50% but he feels it will improve.

“While people prefer to cook at home during the MCO, they eventually will want something different, ” he said.

He added that he operates from his home in Taman Impian Ehsan, Balakong.

Former pilot Azrin Zawawi said even though only takeaway is allowed, it is business as usual at his stall in Subang Jaya.

“We have a contact list and we also keep our customers updated through WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram, ” he said.

Azrin added that the shorter operating hours did not have much effect on business as his stall would normally be open only from noon to 9pm.

During the MCO, food businesses are allowed to operate from 6am to 8pm.

Food truck owner Danial Maridz, 35, said the announcement of MCO 2.0 hit the food truck business community hard.

He said his business has been running on survival mode since March last year.

“Thankfully, we learned that a social media presence helps with business and we use it to keep our customers updated, ” he said.

Kuala Lumpur Food Truck Entrepreneur Association president Muhammad Azlan Abas said although operators are likely to face slower business, at least now they are allowed to operate, unlike in the previous MCO.

“In the last MCO, a few of our members had to downsize or go out of business, but a lot of those who just started were forced to close, ” he said.

Azlan said he hopes eateries would be allowed to operate until 10pm and have a maximum of two customers per table to dine near food trucks.

“I believe this move will attract newer customers to help food truckers at least sustain their business.

“If they manage to expand their business after that, it will be a bonus and a blessing, ” Azlan added.

The MCO was not good news for hawkers in Jalan Alor who are struggling to keep afloat.

Bukit Bintang Hawkers Association chairman See Foo Hoong said despite getting orders, some hawkers said it was difficult to deliver to their customers during the MCO because they could not afford the charges imposed by delivery vendors.

“The charges are a bit too steep for small businesses and some of us cannot handle deliveries because we run our business alone, ” he said.

However, he believes that after experiencing the first MCO, hawkers will be more prepared to face the challenges ahead as they wait for better days.

“Once our international borders reopen and tourists return, I think business will go back to the way it used to be, ” he said.

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