'Business is good': Bedok food stall owner refutes TikTok video and reports that his business is struggling

MAT Western owner Umar Fabrice (left) refutes reports regarding his struggling business via a Facebook post.
PHOTO: Screengrab/TikTok/Hikipedia, Facebook/MAT Western

The kampung spirit was out in full force as a flock of customers rushed to MAT Western in Bedok to support them on Thursday (May 19) following reports and a TikTok video that business at this F&B outlet has been on a steady decline.

Only one issue though: This food stall isn't struggling nor is it in danger of going out of business. 

In fact, business is good, refuted this food stall's owner Umar Fabrice after a TikTok video surfaced on Thursday, May 19 which alluded that MAT Western was going through a rough patch.

In that video, local celebrity Chef Bob, also known as Shahrizal Salleh, posted an interview he did with Umar where the captions suggested that Umar was behind on his shop rental.

And that he has "exhausted every means necessary to pay off his current debts owed to landlord and suppliers". 

Umar, the former executive chef at the now-defunct European restaurant 7Adam, could even be seen welling up during the interview.

However, Umar later took to MAT Western's Facebook page that same Thursday night explaining that he was not referring to the current food stall business in the video. 

"Business is good. Alhamdulillah [translated to "praise be to God", from Arabic]. I was talking about some other business not related to the shop," he posted. It is unclear what other businesses he was referring to.

After Chef Bob's TikTok video was posted, a Facebook group Halal Cafe & Restaurants in Singapore said that a queue had formed at MAT Western that day and that the support got so overwhelming that orders had to be closed.

PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook/Halal Cafe & Restaurants in Singapore

In his Facebook post on Thursday evening, 40-year-old Umar said that he received overwhelming orders that day but felt the need to "clarify some issues pertaining to the video that has been circulating".

In his post, Umar said that he was not crying to receive sympathy from others.

The outpour of emotion was due to "some emotional topic about my mum, who visited me last month here in Singapore", he explained.

He added that all that he shared in the video interview was not related to MAT Western.

The food joint, he said, is far from experiencing financial struggles as plans to expand are in the works.

As for Chef Bob, he has since taken down his original May 19 TikTok video but a shortened version of the clip can be viewed on his Facebook page.

PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook/Chef Bob

Despite the misunderstanding, Umar said that Chef Bob is a wonderful person with a kind soul, who simply wanted to share more about MAT Western.

"Please forgive me for any misunderstanding. You have all been very kind, in fact too kind. Please pardon my English, I don't speak very good English during conversations. And that might also turn to some misleading information.

"I really hope to serve food for all of you and will always have a passion in me to make good food for all," Umar wrote. 

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amierul@asiaone.com