Malaysia's pisang goreng and cendol sellers finding it tough to get customers online

Some food business owners like those selling pisang goreng at stalls have adapted to offering their food items to customer via delivery during MCO.
The Star/Asia News Network

Small-time food business owners are finding it difficult to maintain their business during the movement control order (MCO) period despite offering delivery service to customers.

Khairul Hafizi, the director of franchise Goreng Pisang Crispy which has stalls in Selangor and Johor, expressed concerns over how orders made through delivery are not as much as compared to when they had physical stalls.

"We try to make around RM200 (S$66) per day now through deliveries. It used to be up to RM600 per day for those selling at stalls. We can only offer one item now which is our usual pisang goreng as suppliers for other types of kuih have all closed for MCO," Khairul said when contacted by StarLifestyle Tech.

Before MCO kicked off, Khairul announced on Goreng Pisang Crispy's Facebook page that customers can reach out to them for delivery and even introduced features like contactless delivery.

Ismail Razali, who runs Gerai Kuih Tradisional with his wife Anisah at Wangsa Maju in Kuala Lumpur, said he is now only taking orders from regular customers through WhatsApp.

"Now is a difficult time for people like me who can't earn our usual daily income from food stalls," Ismail said, adding that he has been running the kuih stall business for 19 years.

Md Yasin, who runs the Cendol Durian Atok Sentul stall, took to Facebook to announce that customers can place delivery orders for items like durian cendol and drinks from his stall.

"I can only get around five orders per day now. I understand maybe people don't want to spend so much during this time," he said.

He hopes business will eventually improve as he tries to raise more awareness about his cendol delivery service on social media, informing users with daily postings of his food items.

"Customers shouldn't worry because we will use gloves, face masks and hand sanitisers when we do the delivery. When customers order cendol, we will pack it into an ice box so it won't melt by the time they receive the delivery," he said.

However Khairul Azman, who runs the Man Nasi Kukus restaurant in Sungai Buloh, said he has stopped taking delivery orders and decided to temporarily close his business during MCO.

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"We announced that we are open for delivery and takeaways through our Facebook page on March 17. After about a week of slow business, we decided it's not a good time to continue operating. For now, some like myself will just focus on doing some online business like selling hand sanitisers from home," he said.

There is a silver lining for some businesses with an established delivery presence like Ajoy Nasi Lemak based in Kuala Lumpur. Owner Faizul Ghafar said business has been booming since MCO began as more customers are calling in for delivery.

"In one day, we have doubled the orders - now up to 80 - and we cater for breakfast from 6am to 12pm. I think it's because our customers in this area are already familiar with delivery service," he shared.

He said customers can send him a WhatsApp message to place orders or through apps like Grab and Foodpanda. His own riders are equipped with face masks, hand sanitisers and told to practice contactless delivery.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today (March 25) announced that the MCO period, which was initially set from March 18 to 31, has now been extended to April 14.

During MCO, Malaysians are urged to stay home and food outlets are only allowed to operate as services offering takeaways or deliveries.

For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit here.