Eateries pay heavy price to stay open

Eateries pay heavy price to stay open

PETALING JAYA - The water rationing exercise has forced food court operators and restaurateurs to use disposable utensils when serving their customers.

But they lament that although this is hygienic, the practice has added to their financial burden, increasing their overhead costs.

Mohd Akmal Mohd Nasir, 29, owner of Upstairs Cafe in Section 12, Subang Jaya, said he had to make quick adjustments to ensure his business operated as usual.

"We've been pro-active in the last month and have changed our strategies.

"The water shortage disrupts our work flow but we now plan ahead to cope.

"We run a cafe and rely strongly on the supply of clean water, not just for cleaning but for the hot drinks we serve," Mohd Akmal said.

The morale of his staff was low, he said, because of the increased workload as kitchen staff now had to store water for the cafe.

Mohd Akmal said there was a 5 per cent to 8 per cent drop in profits last month, adding that the most glaring was the reduction in the number of customers walking in.

An operation manager at Rock Cafe food court here also spoke of decreased profits due to the use of disposable utensils.

"Customers don't have water in their homes, and they come to us. So, we must maintain our standards and abide by our customers' expectations," he said.

However, he said the workers had to drive 7km away to get fresh water supply.

"Many are now working on overtime, causing a further dent to our finances," he added.

The manager said those running stalls that sold meat dishes complained that using plastic cutlery was not suitable, adding that larger portions of meat could not fit properly on paper plates.

He also stated that if water rationing were to continue for another month, they would be forced to buy another water tank, which adds to their costs.

"We don't need to be told why (we have water shortage). We need solutions," he added.

The water rationing exercise is also a nightmare for green lovers because the use of disposable utensils were "environmentally-unfriendly".

Environment and waste management specialist Dr Theng Lee Chong lamented that many restaurateurs used disposable plastic fork and spoons now.

"Although they are recyclable, very few are segregated because it has been contaminated with food. They all go to the landfills."

He urged the public to have a mindset change. "Be more pro-active in conserving water."

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