Restaurants slowly recovering amid Covid-19

Businesses will never be the same again for restaurants despite govt easing CMCO rules on dine-in

by NUR HANANI AZMAN/ pic by TMR FILE

THE Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) saw several rules under the MCO being relaxed. For example, restaurants were given the green light for dine-in, a decision that had consumers abuzz with mixed reactions.

Although dine-ins have provided some relief to restaurant owners, some are worried about their businesses not being the same again.

Dapur Penyet Malaysia MD Amran Abd Hamid said the company, which has 14 outlets, is still facing a tough time with sales dropping nearly 20%-30% even after dine-in was allowed.

“We had larger declines of between 70% and 80% during the MCO.

“Even with people returning to eat at the restaurants, we need to comply with social distancing, therefore a smaller number of people is allowed in due to the limited number of seats,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

During these tough times, Amran said Dapur Penyet outlets in shopping malls are struggling as fewer people are going to the malls.

“No doubt partnering food delivery service providers helps a little during the pandemic but that is another cost that we have to bear.

“We also have to postpone our long-held plans to open new outlets in Cyberjaya and Johor Baru,” he said.

Rather than focusing on a franchising programme that requires a large amount of investment, Dapur Penyet is now offering a Reseller Programme for its ready-to-eat (RTE) and frozen food sections to those who want to earn some extra income.

To date, the Dapur Penyet’s Reseller Programme has attracted around 900 resellers.

Separately, KFC and Pizza Hut Malaysia have also progressively re-opened several selected outlets nationwide for patrons to enjoy their meals in-store.

Most KFC and Pizza Hut Malaysia outlets have officially opened for dine-in since June 1, however it depends on the outlet’s capacity and whether it is fit to open for dine-in based on opening guidelines and regulations.

It also depends on the zone of the areas, which can change from time to time, for example, a zone can go from red to green in just a few days.

KFC and Pizza Hut Malaysia owner and operator, QSR Brands (M) Holdings Bhd, has enforced guidelines for all its employees to ensure the health and safety of all diners and staff.

QSR Brands MD Nehchal Khanna said the main priority is to assure that customers can dine in worry-free amid the pandemic that is still going on globally.

“This means maintaining our strict hygiene and quality standards in compliance with the government’s policies and guidelines.

“We also ensure that our food is easily accessible by all Malaysians with options of dine-in, takeaway, self-collect, delivery and drive-thru (KFC only) including collaboration with our exclusive food delivery partner, Foodpanda. These are important elements of our business,” he told TMR.

With the enactment of MCO, QSR Brands has immediately taken proactive measures by introducing “contactless delivery” and “contactless takeaway” where customers’ orders were fulfilled in a contact-free manner, in line with the government’s health, social and safety guidelines.

Nehchal said with the recent allowance of dine-in operation, the company’s priority remains in ensuring all KFC and Pizza Hut Malaysia outlets follow strict guidelines and standard operating procedure (SOP) issued by the government.

“Like everyone else, we are constantly learning and adapting to the ‘new normal’. Most Malaysians understand the risk of being in a public space during this pandemic and it is our responsibility as a restaurant operator to ensure that safety precautions remain intact when dining in or when meals are prepared.

“We want to ensure that our business is playing a positive role in helping the community get fresh food safely and hygienically,” he added.