Malaysia Bagus News
Malaysia Bagus News
PETALING JAYA: The ban on dining in restaurants in Kuala Lumpur and six districts in Selangor, and nationwide from tomorrow, has been made worse by the drop in the number of e-hailing riders available for deliveries.
Several eateries reporters spoke to said the lack of deliverymen has further affected their revenue, which is comparably worse off now compared with the first movement control order (MCO) last year.
To make matters worse, the unfavourable weather conditions, especially in the evenings, has made deliveries difficult too, when it should be peak hour for restaurants.
Shankar Santhiram, founder of The Fire Grill, said his restaurant faced a shortage of riders despite being partners with three different food delivery platforms. This has made customers wait up to an hour, which deters others from placing orders.
He told reporters it was not the fault of riders or delivery companies, acknowledging that having no deliverymen available was unavoidable, especially during the rainy season.
But he said the food and beverage industry needed Putrajaya to show some leadership and assist it, especially since the sector contributed a lot of revenue to the country and involved more than a handful of employees per restaurant.
“Every time dine-ins are banned, we lose approximately 80% to 90% of our revenue. So we’ve been surviving on 10% to 20%. In fact, we depend more on self pick-ups than deliveries.
“But now there’s a problem because some customers can’t cross state or district lines to even pick up orders,” he said. Shankar’s restaurant is located in Taman Tun Dr Ismail in Kuala Lumpur which neighbours Bandar Utama, which is in Petaling Jaya.
Meanwhile, the owner of a cafe in Kuala Lumpur who wanted to remain anonymous said there had been at least a 50% drop in sales this time around compared with the first MCO last year.
The combination of bad weather, MCO 3.0, fasting month and Hari Raya week meant fewer riders, which translates to a smaller service radius. Coupled with the dine-in ban, the lower sales were a big challenge for the industry, he said.
He said bigger brands would “hold” riders by only preparing orders once the deliverymen arrived, adding that in huge volumes of orders, riders would even wait up to an hour just to pick up the items.
“During MCOs, 90% of our revenue comes from deliveries, while 10% comes from takeaways. But now deliveries have been badly dented,” he said.
While apprehensive about loosening restrictions, he said if the government were to allow dine-ins, it should only allow adults — no children — and be capped at two a table.
“Those who are high-risk should not even be allowed to enter F&B outlets or even malls.”
However, he was in favour of one “bitter pill” — a total lockdown akin to the first MCO.
Rani Pushparani, manager of Krishna Curry House, said the banana leaf restaurant has been solely dependent on deliveries now. However, it loses between RM2,000 and RM3,000 a day in this MCO.
While things were looking up following the first lockdown, it feels like back to square one for her. She pleaded for the government to relax restrictions on dining in, saying the restaurant was willing to limit customers to two per table.
“Because it’s banana leaf rice, people prefer to sit and eat here. Takeaways are very hard for them. They have to unpack all the food, heat it up then wash the plates.
“Two per table is better than nothing for us, they must consider this at least. I’ve sat here since morning and we’ve only earned RM300 so far. Luckily, we didn’t cook much,” she said.
In April, reporters reported that the number of food delivery riders had fallen in March, with one service provider saying there had been an 85% drop.
Restaurants and food delivery companies said many riders might have gone back to their full-time jobs with the gradual reopening of the economy following the lifting of the second MCO.
While acknowledging this, Shankar said the two-week periods for MCOs could also deter people from signing up as deliverymen. He pointed out that MCOs were always announced to last for two weeks before being extended over and over again, rather than one long period at one go.
Coupled with last-minute announcements on sectors during the MCO, he said some people temporarily out of a job might think twice about signing up as deliverymen because they might be able to work their regular jobs the next day.
He called on the government to be more compassionate towards the F&B industry, especially since most clusters and cases in the past two months came from workplace clusters and the manufacturing industry.
“They can continue operating. Meanwhile, we who make up less than 1% (of cases and/or clusters) are shut down.”
JUSTCLICK & CONNECT