Operator Helps Bukit Canberra Hawker Centre Stallholders Source Cheaper Dabao Containers
UPDATE (21 Dec, 10am): Takeaway or dabao containers at Bukit Canberra Hawker Centre now cost no more than S$0.30 following public feedback. The centre’s operator worked with stallholders to find more affordable options. Read their statement below.
Residents in Sembawang have been pining for their own hawker centre for decades and this past weekend, their wishes finally came true.
Opening to long lines and crowds, the Bukit Canberra Hawker Centre welcomed its first guests on 17 Dec.
However, despite the roaring popularity, patrons were taken aback by some of the hawker centre’s practices.
Namely, the requirement that all takeaway boxes must come in biodegradable containers, resulting in additional charges of up to S$0.80.
Housewife unknowingly paid S$0.50 for dabao containers
According to Shin Min Daily News, diners had a rude shock when they bought takeaway or dabao meals at Bukit Canberra Hawker Centre.
A 42-year-old housewife allegedly paid an extra S$0.50 to have her food packed in biodegradable containers.
Initially unaware of the charge, she paid the total amount without thinking twice.
It wasn’t until later when she realised the additional fee that she vowed to bring her own container the next time she visited.
Bukit Canberra hawkers find ways to cut or absorb dabao containers costs
Shin Min Daily News also reported that not all stalls share the same takeaway fee. After some investigation, they noted that takeaway fees at the hawker centre range between S$0.20 and S$0.80.
Most of the time, hawkers will either display the fees on their storefronts or verbally inform customers themselves.
The higher takeaway charge is apparently because the centre requires hawkers to use biodegradable containers. For fear of driving customers away, however, some stalls have found ways to circumvent the fees.
Some of them, for instance, have decided to absorb part of the cost for the sake of building a strong customer base. Others turned to alternative packaging suppliers to get cheaper rates.
One hawker has even deliberately used regular plastic containers for takeaways just for Saturdays.
Despite their best efforts, customers have baulked at these costs and practices, with one customer allegedly leaving after hearing of an S$0.80 charge by a Korean food stall.
The stall’s assistant shared with Shin Min Daily News his worries that this initiative would inevitably hurt their business in the long run.
Hawker centre operators wish to become more environmentally-friendly
In a statement to MS News, Managing Director Joey Tan of Canopy Hawkers Group which is the operator of Bukit Canberra Hawker Centre, explained the rationale behind using biodegradable containers.
The group apparently aims for the F&B venue to be “a green hawker centre through green practices”. One way they do that is by reducing the use of disposable utensils, especially for dine-in customers.
Following feedback from the public regarding the pricing of takeaway packages, Canopy Hawkers Group quickly worked with stallholders to address the matter.
Mr Tan assured the public that,
We are [also] assisting our stallholders by sourcing and introducing vendors who offer bulk-buy programmes for takeaway packaging to keep costs low. All takeaway packaging will now be no more than 30 cents.
With takeaway packaging costing less, hopefully, patrons will no longer be too hesitant to dabao food from the hawker centre moving forward.
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