After two years of trying to cope with rising operating costs, one rojak seller in a Telok Blangah coffee shop has finally thrown in the towel.
The hawker, who goes by Andrew shared that he made the painful decision to shutter his stall for good on Chinese New Year's eve, reported Shin Min Daily News on Tuesday (Jan 24).
This 50-year-old took over the rojak stall from its previous elderly owner in 2021 after the former got into an accident while working as a food delivery rider.
The latter had offered to show him the ropes as he wanted to retire.
Although the stall helped him to start anew, the last six months have been particularly tough on him due to inflation, he told the Chinese daily.
Andrew revealed that his monthly takings from his rojak stall only amounted to $400 in the last two months, after deducting the stall's rental and other costs.
"Sometimes I only earn $12 a day, on a good day I get about $65," he said, adding that his operating costs have increased by about 20 per cent over the months.
However, to keep his regular customers coming, Andrew said he did not increase the price of his rojak.
Moonlighting to raise son
To add on, this single father also has a nine-year-old son to worry about.
Although his ex-wife, who lives in Thailand, gives him about $1,000 monthly, it's still not enough to feed the both of them.
He has also considered moving his stall to another location with higher footfall, but he said that he can't afford the rent.
"Previously there was a stall for rent at a coffee shop in Toa Payoh, but the rent is $3,000 a month. I don't even dare to think about it."
To cope with the reduced income from his rojak stall, Andrew shared that he has also been working part-time as a security guard at a hotel for the last two months.
He starts his shift at 8pm and works till 8am, returning home to sleep for about two to three hours before getting up to run his rojak stall.
"Every night I earn about $100, but it's making me very tired. Sometimes I end up falling asleep at my stall," he said.
Stalls left vacant
In November last year, a report from 8world revealed that 15 stalls at Amoy Street Food Centre were left vacant due to high rental costs.
A stall owner told the Chinese media outlet that some of the vacant stalls were run by young entrepreneurs who were first-time hawkers.
But due the high rentals, many of these young hawkers closed after a few months as they could not generate enough income to make ends meet.
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