I was home in Ipoh and as usual when my mother does not cook, we will eat out. My parents do not spend a lot. In fact RM800 per month is more than enough for them. We dropped by a new restaurant specialising only with economy rice; really economic. Free chrysanthemum tea and chicken soup. There were enough seats for nearly 200 pax; plastic chairs along long banquet tables. Everyone eats together. Within the restaurant at 130pm there were only around 80 pax, with another 10 queuing to get the dishes they want. I decided not to take any meat today. Take a look at the image. So, with that huge plate, three dishes plus chrysanthemum tea and soup, how much should I pay? Well I paid RM3. I know, someone wanted to say but I can’t eat in Ipoh! I work in Kuala Lumpur lah. Okay, point taken and perhaps you are right. Then again, even in Ipoh, the usual economy rice may not be this cheap and the typical set lunches in cafes are still RM13.90 per set etc.
I was having lunch with my Thailand colleague on Thursday in KL. We went to the Maju Food Junction. I ordered a nasi goreng kampung for her which was not just delicious but the portion was enormous. Take a look at the image to understand what I meant. Yes, the portion was huge even for a guy who eats a lot like me. It’s RM5.90 within a cosy and breezy environment. (air-conditioned) The only issue that I encounter for this particular stall is that if I arrive by 1220pm, the queue would be extremely long and despite the two cooks being very efficient, I could only get my order within the next 25 minutes. So, I estimated that on a daily basis, this particular stall should be easily selling 120-150 plates because many do order for take-away too. (Buy one and share among two colleagues). Two weeks ago, my company ordered 60 packets for a company event too.
I know some may want to say that but I want to bring my customers / good friends for a good lunch but within one of those nice cafes / restaurants. I do not want to bring them to a canteen even if the canteen is an air-conditioned and well designed one. I happened to eat at Onde-Onde (Citta Mall) on Friday afternoon. On the menu was a Set of the Day consisting of a quarter chicken, plus some bits of sambal sotong (very spicy but addictive), vegetable strips, acar, keropok plus fried rice served on a banana leaf. Yes, it includes a Iced-Tea as well plus all the waiters are dressed in uniforms. The food was delicious and all four of us (colleagues) enjoyed it thoroughly. The service was extremely fast and I could count easily 50 pax eating at the same time as me. Conservatively, I think they can serve 150 pax within the 2 hour lunch period. I hope they would continue to grow their business and open more restaurants.
Whether prices continue to rise ever faster also depends on whether we just accept and pay or we go for cheaper places instead. No one should aim at crazy profits and people who continue patronise these stalls are also crazy. Hey, saving RM5 per meal for a year is at least a few thousand ringgit! Few years doing this and we even have enough for downpayment for an affordable apartment. Crazy but true. Eat cheaper. Can do.
written on 6 Dec 2016
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