It's only been about five months since Jason Koh, 24, and Cleavon Tan, 25, launched fusion nasi lemak hawker stall Ah Lemak — a play on the popular Malay expression — but they have shut down after losing about $45,000, 8days.sg reported.
The stall, located at Nam Wah Coffeeshop in Tampines West, was known for its unique take on the classic Malay dish with menu items such as unagi (Japanese eel) nasi lemak.
While their food drew good reviews from the usual food blogs like SethLui.com and Eatbook, they did not have a steady customer base, Jason — who holds a diploma in culinary arts — told the lifestyle magazine.
In a nutshell, the price was not right.
Jason said: "A lot of customers were like, 'Huh? Wah, nasi lemak with one chicken thigh so expensive ah, $6.50?'"
However, he felt that the price was "actually very value-for-money", especially since the dish featured an entire chicken thigh.
Their prices ranged from $4.20 for nasi lemak with one chicken wing and an egg to $19.90 for the seafood set which included soft-shell crab, squid and fish.
It also did not help that their opening in July last year coincided with a surge in Covid-19 cases and a subsequent dining ban.
But the young men are not giving up.
Despite not making a profit in the five months that they have been open, they "will be back stronger", Jason said.
"We have been losing, losing, losing all the way, so we decided to stop this stall first, move elsewhere and come up with something different."
The duo said they are planning a comeback under a new name and with a fresh new menu.