This is a general article but the examples used are all for Penang yeah. Anyone from KL, please comment on KL’s hawker rental prices. Are we paying ever higher prices for our meals? The answer in short is, yes. The reasons include cost of raw materials, cost of labour and cost of living. Yes, usually the best reason quoted in order to increase the prices would be due to the higher cost of living. In brief, since everything else is increasing in prices, I have to increase as well. Else, I would suffer while all the rest are okay. Actually, one major component which is adding into the cost of our meals would be the property price itself. For example, a shop based within a mall has to charge higher because of the rental he has to pay when compared to a hawker stall beside the road. Well, what about hawker stalls in different kopitiams? (restaurants?)
Long time ago, when I was younger than today (Yes, I am past 40 now. Haha), I came to know that the rental per day for one char koay teow stall was RM7 per evening session. My close friend’s father would fry the char koay teow beginning 6pm and closes towards midnight. Assuming he is able to serve 100 plates on average per day, the rental cost included into each plate is 7 cents. Actually, not too bad. If he sells one plate for RM2.50 the actual cost of rental is less than 4 percent. Hey, what happens if the rental for ONE hawker stall is RM27 per half day? This was informed to me by a friend who has a hawker stall in a kopitiam somewhere in a popular neighbourhood in Penang. His working time is from 8am till 2pm. Assuming this same hawker sells 100 plates at RM2.50, the cost per plate is now 27 cents or 11 percent of the total cost of one plate! Okay, assuming he wants to maintain his rental cost per plate at the same 4 percent and selling the same number of plates, he can do two things. Reduce the quality of the inputs. (Bad idea…) or Increase the price of a plate of char koay teow. I think the latter is more likely and that is why we see one plate of char koay teow becoming RM5 or higher in many places in Penang. Okay, the hawker can also choose to sell more plates of char koay teow too!
How about if I tell you that the rental per stall for some of them is now RM100 per day! This was revealed in an article by Henry Butcher in NST recently. Please do read here for that full article. The article says that there is one popular cafe where the owner demolished and rebuilt the facilities and is now charging the hawkers RM100 per day instead of RM30 previously. It says that the hawkers were still smiling with the increase! The reason for the higher hawker stall rental per day is also because the property price for that particular cafe has done up. Plus the renovation costs and all other costs loh. Looking ahead, would Penang be like Singapore where all the hawker stalls operate within food courts instead? Perhaps not during my lifetime but every time we eat at our favourite hawker stalls and the prices go up, perhaps it’s because of property prices too. So, ready to buy a shop and start a kopitiam business? Haha. Happy eating.
written on 14 Jan 2018
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