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Customer Complains M’sian Eatery Is Expensive, Owner Says Prices Haven’t Changed Since 2019

Kedah Eatery Explains Pricing Rationale After Customer Complains Food Is Expensive

Due to the pandemic, many people have seen their income drop and are struggling to make ends meet.

On the other hand, the pandemic and the Ukraine war have also caused the prices of many daily necessities to go up, including food.

This might cause people to be price-conscious while dining out and lament that their food is pricey.

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However, in response to such a complaint from a customer, the proprietor of a Malaysian eatery has said that his prices haven’t changed since 2019 — despite what we all know has happened since then.

Customer complains S$48 meal for 9 is expensive

In a Facebook post on 7 Apr that ended up being shared over 3,700 times, Mr Samz Wong was in an emotional mood.

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He operates Restoran Chai Por Hu, an eatery in Alor Setar, the capital of Malaysia’s northern state of Kedah.

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He said that when a customer was settling his bill, he remarked that his food was expensive.

 

To that, Mr Wong pointed out that the uncle’s bill totalled S$48 (RM148) — and that was for a group of 9.

The uncle repeated that it was expensive and that they apparently didn’t eat that much.

Average profit per order less than 30%

Mr Wong said he didn’t want to argue further with a customer, but the incident stuck in his head for a long time.

He calculated the profit he made last month and found that the average profit per order was less than 30%.

So why do people still think his food is expensive, he frustratedly asked.

Party ordered several portions of fish & prawns

Mr Wong shared the customer’s bill, and it was apparent that the party ordered a large fish dish for S$12.60 (RM39).

He’d also ordered large portions of pork ribs, prawns with egg and another prawn dish, together with another fish dish for 3 — all of which cost less than S$5.80 (RM18) each.

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Later, a small tofu dish was ordered, together with another medium portion of pork ribs and 9 bowls of rice and assorted drinks like Kickapoo and 7-Up.

Each bowl of rice cost S$0.32 (RM1), while each soft drink cost S$0.71 (RM2.20).

The total bill of S$48 (RM148.40) worked out to S$5.32 (RM16.48) per person.

No service charge nor Goods and Services Tax (GST) was charged.

Everything has increased except his prices

Mr Wong wondered whether anybody knew that if they went to the market to shop for 9 people, RM150 might not even be enough.

He also said that it doesn’t include the labour of preparing the ingredients and cooking the food, as well as the cleaning and washing of dishes after the meal.

The operator also wondered whether people knew that the prices of essentials like chicken, pork, cooking oil and imported food had increased.

However, businesses like his “don’t dare” to increase their prices for fear of alienating customers.

In fact, he felt that he’s appeased his conscience by not increasing prices but was aghast that people still complained his food was expensive.

Photo for illustration purposes only
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Prices remained the same since 2019

In a subsequent interview with the China Press, Mr Wong said his eatery moved to its present location in 2019.

Since then, prices on his menu have remained the same, except for fried chilli, which costs S$0.65 (RM2) extra.

He said his Facebook post was meant to highlight the problems faced by business owners like him, who also have to bear customers’ complaints.

A report on Mr Wang’s post in the Guang Ming Daily
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Indeed, in his original post, he urged the public to make a trip to the markets to check out the prices of meat, vegetables, sauces and other ingredients.

Mutual understanding needed

Running an F&B business is already difficult enough without having to contend with prices that seem to be constantly rising.

Thus, it doesn’t help when customers complain about steep prices.

However, it’s also understandable that diners may be counting every penny nowadays.

So perhaps what may be needed is some mutual understanding of the problems that both business operators and customers face.

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at news@mustsharenews.com.

Featured image adapted from Restoran Chai Por Hu on Facebook and Samz Wong on Facebook.

Jeremy Lee

Analog person making do with a digital world.

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