The Secretary-General of Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Dr Chee Soon Juan took to Facebook on Tuesday (29 Jun) to express his newfound appreciation and respect for food and beverage (F&B) operators.
Dr Chee, who recently opened a café at Rochester Mall with his wife, said that these operators are in a “gruelling endeavour with little margin for error”.
“Staff had dinner after the café was closed, discussing and planning for the next day. I have a new found respect for F&B operators. It’s a gruelling endeavour with little margin for error,” he shared.
Dr Chee’s café, Orange & Teal, opened its doors for the first time to the public last Friday (25 Jun).
In his post, he also asserted that high rental charges make it more difficult for these F&B business owners, pointing out that this is probably why a lot of businesses in this sector fail.
Dr Chee added that high rent is not a major problem for big industry players as they have the fund to pay up high rent.
“Add to the fact that high rent makes the task even more daunting, it’s no wonder that the casualty rate in the industry is so high. The big chains and corporate eateries have no problem forking out the rent and, in many cases, paying security deposits of up to 6 months of rent!
“The disappointing fact is that many of these properties are owned by our own government. Mapletree, JTC, etc own malls and industrial buildings. They set the rent,” he wrote.
Dr Chee went on to urge members of the public to support local entrepreneurs and not corporate giants the next time they think of going out for a meal or coffee.
“So, the next time you go out for a meal or a coffee, consider going down to your neighbourhood café or the eatery down the road owned by our local entrepreneurs rather than the giants that vacuum up F&B life in Singapore.
“We’ve got to help our own if we are going to make it as a country,” he remarked.
Just recently (25 Jun), Makansutra founder KF Seetoh revealed in a Facebook post about how the National Environment Agency (NEA) has decided to raise the rent of hawker stalls by 40 per cent. Mr Seeoth slammed the agency for its move amid challenging times.
In his post, he attached a letter from NEA to a hawker stall informing on the rent hike, adding that the “revised rent is based on the market rent assessed by our professional valuers”.
A day later (26 Jun), NEA clarified in a statement that the rental rates for hawker stalls have been “kept unchanged throughout three years”, adding that monthly hawker stall rents can be “as low as a few hundred dollars, or even S$1”.
“In recent years, rental revision upwards at tenancy renewals in our hawker centres have not exceeded $300. On the other hand, there have been rental revisions downwards of more than $300 upon tenancy renewals.
“It is misleading to look at percentage increases alone as a $300 increase from a low rental will appear as a large percentage increase,” said the agency.