Slow business at nasi kandar outlets


Slow day: Customers observing the Covid-19 SOP by wearing face masks and standing a metre apart at Hameediyah in George Town. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: It’s a Malaysian staple but sometimes even the big nasi kandar eaters have to give it a pass.

The weekend crowds usually seen at a popular nasi kandar joint here during the pre-movement control order period are gone.

Back then, lines would form up to the sidewalk outside Hameediyah, the country’s oldest nasi kandar restaurant.

These days, only a handful of patrons can be seen, standing a metre apart, inside the shoplot along Campbell Street here.

Many carefully keep a distance from one another, waiting for the other person to exit before entering the restaurant.

Hameediyah director Muhammad Riyaaz Syed Ibrahim said he remained hopeful that business would improve once the movement restrictions were lifted.

“We hope to see changes in our sales after the lockdown. That will depend on the number of Covid-19 cases declining, ” he added.

For now, he said the restaurant depended on its take-away services at the shop and deliveries all around the island.

The eatery is known for its chicken briyani, beef curry, murtabak, kurma, rendang and mee goreng.

Muhammad Riyaaz said there was a 50% drop in sales last weekend, the third and fourth day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, due to the no dine-in rule.

He said they decided to close on the first two days of Hari Raya as they anticipated business would be bad.

“We are usually open during the festive season.

“But we decided to close for two days because of travel restrictions and no dine-in rule, ” he said.

Meanwhile, Original Kayu Nasi Kandar managing director Buruhan Mohamad also said business was slower this festive season compared to last year.

“We usually have many families who wanted to cater food for their Raya gatherings.

“This time around everyone is celebrating at home with their immediate family, so we have only seen take-away orders.

“We hope it picks up once the MCO is lifted, ” he said.

Buruhan said he understood the need for the tighter restrictions for public safety.

MCO 3.0, which was enforced on May 12, will end on June 7.

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