Don’t expect dining out to be cheaper, warn food vendors

Better than nothing: Coffeeshop owner Yap Swee Tin preparing half boiled eggs for customers at her shop in George Town. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Cooking eggs at home might be a tad cheaper, but do not expect your plate of egg fried rice to be cheaper when dining out.

Most food vendors interviewed said they are glad the cost of eggs has slightly reduced but urged consumers not to expect eating out to become cheaper.

“Don’t expect us to reduce our prices just because the price of eggs has dropped,” said coffeeshop operator Cheow Soi Lei, 57.

She explained that many food sellers do not have time to buy eggs themselves and rely on suppliers who add surcharges to cover transport and delivery costs.

“The suppliers still charge the same,” she said.

She hoped the government could find a mechanism to stabilise the prices of other food items and ingredients to create a snowball effect instead of just focusing on eggs.

Nasi campur seller Zulfahmi Ahmad, 35, agreed that the new price of eggs will not benefit consumers eating out because the reduction is too small to affect the price of a plate of Malay nasi campur.

Nonetheless, he said it is a boon for his cost management since he uses hundreds of eggs daily.

“It eases our burden because when the prices of ingredients go up, we dare not raise prices because the market is competitive.

“We have been absorbing cost increases for some years now,” he said.

Burger hawker Abdul Halim Shahul Hameed, 42, also expressed gladness.

“I use Grade A eggs, so I now save almost RM1 per tray of 30 eggs,” he said.

Abdul Halim said that while it did not sound like much, the daily cost savings increased over time for small traders like him.

He is looking forward to see the prices of more food ingredients drop.

Bayan Baru Food Court Association chairman Roy Ang applauded the move, describing it as “better than nothing”.

“With the high cost of living now, this latest development is encouraging and can help people, especially hawkers,” he said.

He reminded hawkers not to raise their food prices arbitrarily, as this will make customers angry and move away to other places.

Seberang Perai Hawkers and Coffeeshop Owners Association president Lee Kok Yong said the latest development is good news for the association’s 400 members, mostly hawkers and coffeeshop owners.

“Most of them use hundreds of eggs daily, so this reduction will surely be good for them,” he said.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yesterday announced that the retail price of Grade A, B and C eggs across the country was reduced by three sen as part of the government’s new subsidy initiative.

Anwar said the new prices for Grade A, B, and C eggs will be set at 42sen, 40sen, and 38sen per egg, respectively.

He said the subsidy provision would involve government expenditure of around RM100mil, covering as much as 10 sen per egg.

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