CNY diners reminded of restaurant worker shortage

PETALING JAYA: There are two words to remember for those who will be enjoying their Chinese New Year reunion dinner at restaurants – be patient.

“Most restaurants are facing a worker shortage, so we hope diners are prepared for the possibility of slow service,” said Pan Malaysia Koo Soo Restaurants & Chefs Association president Wong Teu Hoon.

Many Chinese restaurants are seeing more bookings than last year, he said.

“We still need more staff. And we want to accommodate all customers as much as possible, but all sectors are facing a worker shortage, not just the food and beverage industry.

“When customers book a reunion dinner with us, we always remind them about this and to be understanding,” he said.

Malaysia Selangor and Federal Territory Ku Su Shin Chung Hung Restaurants Association deputy president Justin Hor Chee Keong said Chinese restaurants in the Klang Valley are short-handed.

“It is not easy to recruit part-time staff. We are even paying RM150 a day for part-time work, compared with RM100 previously,” he said, adding that the higher rates have not eased the labour situation.

To get around the problem, he said most restaurants would fix two dine-in sessions.

“The first round is from 5pm to 7.30pm and second round will take place from 8pm to 10pm. This is to address the worker shortage,” he said when contacted.

Despite getting full bookings, Ho said restaurants have to deal with the 30% increase in operating costs.

Yet, he said the price of the reunion meal is increased by just 10% to avoid burdening customers.

Koo Soo San Yuen Guild Taiping chairman Law Eu Wei estimated that the Chinese New Year reunion dinner set meal prices have gone up by 5% to 10%.

Most customers, he said, would choose dinner sets in the medium price range, which are between RM1,000 and RM1,200.

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