Baking at a frenzied pace

Limited production: Khairul Azman has stopped taking bulk orders since January as a way to cope with the high demand.

JOHOR BARU: Cookie sellers here are seeing busy days with an increase in demand as Hari Raya Aidilfitri draws closer.

Some are also facing difficulties in getting enough manpower and are opting to limit their production as a way to cope with the demand.

Khairul Azman Kamal Uddin, who runs a cookie factory and shop in Bandar Baru Uda, said he has stopped taking bulk orders since January.

“Apart from selling cookies at our own shop, we are also supplying to other sellers around Johor Baru, Batu Pahat, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

“We have been receiving orders since late last year and in January, we decided to stop accepting them as we just simply cannot cope,” he said, adding that demand has doubled this year compared to last year.

Khairul Azman, 38, said he had delivered some 40,000 jars of cookies to the sellers as of January this year.

“Apart from lack of workers, there is also a problem with getting certain crucial ingredients such as butter.

“We have been using one specific brand of butter for our cookies but when it is not available in the market, we had to stop production temporarily until the supply is restored.

“We can’t simply change the ingredients. If we choose to do so, then we need to do some research first to see if the taste will be different,” he said.

He added that he is now focusing on fulfilling the demand at his own shop as they expect to see a lot of walk-in customers as the festivity draws closer.

“It is just the first week of Ramadan and we can already see that there is a lot of demand, including customers from Singapore,” he said.

Noratika Norsham, who runs a shop selling cookies with her sister Suhaila Norsham in Angsana Mall, said they decided to hire two part-time workers this year.

“It is not easy to get workers these days as many prefer to start their own business instead of working for others.

“I am also particular about my workers as I want to only take those who I can really trust. Right now, both my part timers are my friends.

“For now, I have a total four workers, including two full-time employees,” she said, adding that they also operate a stall at Pandan Uptown Johor Baru.

Noratika, 29, said during pre-pandemic times, she used to have eight workers but had since reduced the size of manpower.

“It has been okay so far as all my workers are proactive and reliable.

“In terms of demand, there is an increase this year compared to last year,” she said.

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