Dine-in: Better profit vs possible outbreak?


By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, July 16: Eateries and restaurants can now breathe a sigh of relief as they await customers to once again visit their premises, which will hopefully signify better earnings in sales than they did during lockdown.

Fauziah Family Cafe owner, Nazz Ismail, 42, said now that dine-ins were permitted beginning today, it would definitely improve the sales of the food and beverage (F&B) businesses in Sarawak after the State was put under lockdown since May 29, 2021.

Nazz Ismail

“During the lockdown, our sales had totally by 80 to 90 per cent. For an example, we recorded a daily income of RM1,000 during normal days (before lockdown) but we only managed to gain about RM100 daily income during lockdown, when dining-in was not allowed.

“Moving forward, business recovery will take some time and I believe it depends very much on the number of customers coming in. Hence, I am glad the dine-in rule is finally being allowed,” he told DayakDaily when met today.

Nazz also said while the operators of his premises are happy to see their customers dining-in, standard operating procedures (SOPs) are still being put in place.

“A lot of my stall operators and staff have been vaccinated with at least the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccines and therefore, we can operate at 50 per cent capacity.

“Since this morning, we have been monitoring the customers dining in at the premises and I can assure that roughly 85 per cent of them have been vaccinated with the remaining percentage refering to those who are not yet eligible to receive the Covid-19 jab. Their MySejahtera app record also shows that they are low-risk individuals,” he added.

Sapiah Mat Nor

Meanwhile, kolo mee stall operator Sapiah Mat Nor, 56, said that the first day of operating her stall without the dine-in ban has shown a marked increase in her business sales.

“During lockdown, not many people frequented my stall to buy takeaways. I also provided food delivery services but the total sales was still lower than dining-in customers on normal days.

“Apart from that, I did not make enough profit during the dine-in ban because the food delivery service was also costly. If only the government decided to provide subsidy for that, I believe I would have been able to at least recover my business capital during lockdown,” she said.

Despite the lifting of the dine-in ban in Sarawak today, there are some F&B premises which are still cautious about the idea of customers flocking to eateries.

A check by DayakDaily at KFC Metrocity found that the premises still prohibiting dine-ins.

The franchise premises only operates for takeaways and drive-thru orders, explaining that they were not ready to allow dine-ins despite the lifting of the ban.

On the other hand, the operator of Swee Kang Ais Kacang, who wanted to be known only as Mr Chang, emphasised that the dine-in service could spark a huge outbreak as Kuching is still recording a high number of Covid-19 cases.

Mr Chang of Swee Kang Ais Kacang.

“At the moment, it is best for us to only provide takeaways so that we can guarantee the safety of both our employees and customers.

“I understand that dining-in could attract more crowds and more profit but I do not want to take any chances that could cause harm to the public. We will only resume dining-in service once we feel it is safe for us to do so,” he said.

Lily Johny

Norasfaziela Enterprise owner Lily Johny, 62, said the resumption of dining-in would allow F&B businesses to be rejuvenated but cautioned that the move would cause a surge in the number of new Covid-19 cases.

“We have not won the battle yet. Kuching is still recording triple-digit cases. With this, I do think that the people should not treat the lifting of the dine-in ban as a reward after almost two months of lockdown. They still have to stay at home,” she said.

Alvin Lawrence

A private worker Alwin Lawrence, 28, also had the same opinion as he described the dine-in service as unnecessary for the time being, looking at how Sarawak’s statistics for daily cases was still high.

“The dine-in service would definitely help eateries to increase their sales but this would also encourage people to leave their homes and exposed to Covid-19 infection.

“I believe the dine-in service should be allowed only for those who are actually working outside and need a place for them to have a break,” he said. — DayakDaily