10/06/2021
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Restaurant operators at breaking point due to lockdown

PETALING JAYA, June 10 (Sin Chew Daily) — Restaurants are hit hard by the lockdown imposed from June 1 to 14 due to sharp drop in their businesses.

Compared to Movement Control Order (MCO) 1.0 and MCO 2.0 implemented last year, members of the public now stay at home due to the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic whereby orders for takeaway have also plunged to only about 15% of usual volume.

Huang Shou Qun, president of the Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors' General Association who is also president of the Pan-Malaysia Koo Soo Restaurants & Chefs Association, said for the past one year, many restaurants were finding it hard to remain in business.

Some have opted to close down, pending economic recovery, including established restaurants.

The Grand Sea View Restaurant (L) in Batu Pahat will call it a day on June 30 after operating for 34 years; Huang Shou Qun, president of the Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors' General Association and Pan-Malaysia Koo Soo Restaurants & Chefs Association.
The Grand Sea View Restaurant (L) in Batu Pahat will call it a day on June 30 after operating for 34 years; Huang Shou Qun, president of the Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors' General Association and Pan-Malaysia Koo Soo Restaurants & Chefs Association.

In an interview with Sin Chew Daily, Huang said the restaurant sector was badly hit by the full lockdown.

Many were still willing to place orders for takeaway during MCO 1.0 and MCO 2.0 last year. Restaurants were able to have 30 per cent of the business through takeaway while food hawkers were still able to have 30% to 50% of their usual businesses, he said.

"As the pandemic is getting worse, people stay at home and takeaway orders have also dropped, the operators are at breaking point," he said.

Many building owners were also unable to offer more discounts for rents, he added.

"Many building owners were willing to offer 20% to 30% of discounts for rents. Some even gave 50%. Now even building owners were finding difficulty to offer discounts. We are all in the same boat," he said.

The Grand Sea View Restaurant announced that it would be closing down on June 30 after operating for 34 years.

The owner of the restaurant told Sin Chew Daily it was an impromptu decision. As the restaurant was running at losses for more than a year while staff were exposed to infection risks, the owner decided to close down despite owning a grand hall with 220 dining tables.

"We are incurring losses of a minimum of RM10,000 per month. For the past one year, we reduced the number of staff from more than 100 to only 40. Some switched to other jobs while we sent the foreign workers back to their home countries," he said.

"If we continue to operate, the workers are facing the risk of being infected," he said, adding that safety issue was the main concern.

Many regular patrons were ordering takeaways after learning that the restaurant would be closing down end of this month.

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