For over two years, the global pandemic along with its restrictions foreshadowed gloomy days for many sectors, especially food vendors. During this period, F&B vendors were put to the test and some sadly witnessed their business crumble in light of the lockdowns and economic uncertainties.
While certain F&B outlets turned to online platforms for sales; using Instagram as a marketing platform and setting up accounts on food delivery apps – others just couldn’t afford the time, effort, resources or manpower to keep up.
Aside from the F&B sector, several other industries and local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have already suffered a loss of billions since the pandemic.
In 2021, over 90% of SMEs projected losses between 25%-100%.
The affected SMEs, especially in retail and food and beverages (F&B), are just hanging on at the edge of a cliff. – Chin Chee Seong, SME Association of Malaysia national VP
However, the nation has survived the pandemic and the worst (we hope) is behind us. With the boost from the tourism sector, F&B vendors are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Food Vendors Who Earn A Daily Wage
Although grateful that their F&B business can take off once again, food vendors, especially those who own small stalls, hawkers and night market vendors need assurance that history will not repeat itself.
Our salary is based on our work. – A night market trader in Petaling Jaya 
This is the reality for F&B daily wage workers; the pasar malam food sellers and the makciks selling local delicacies. Operating these food stalls secures their bread and butter – especially for those who have families to care for.
We work today and get our salary today. We get our salary today and hence, we eat today. – Night market trader in Petaling Jaya
However, recovering from a loss of two years isn’t a guarantee of immediate success.
Running a business is fraught with challenges and obstacles and this is understandable, but having to close for months on end is unprecedented. After the first MCO, I took a hit financially, and even though I was able to reopen, there just wasn’t enough to recover. – Madam Yee, a hairstylist from Petaling Jaya
58-year-old pancake seller Lee Seok Luan is hopeful that sales are resuming, but she recalls grim times during the MCO.
I just stayed at home and waited, hoping that the situation would improve quickly. I lost about RM2,000 in income during the closure. – Lee Seok Luan
Supporting Our Local F&B Vendors
With renewed hope, all local food outlets and stalls have resumed operations. But profits in the early stages will go toward recovering from the pandemic’s impact.
Despite the hurdles, these vendors operate bright and early in hopes of reigning in profit.
But staying open isn’t enough. They need our support – especially for hidden stalls that aren’t in the limelight.
So the next time you’re famished, head out and explore the plethora of food stalls on the sidewalks, at night markets and at hawker centres! Our unending support goes a long way.
Explore Our Sources
- NST. (2020). PM: Malaysia has suffered RM63 billion losses due to MCO. Link.
- The Malaysian Reserve. (2021). 50,000 SMEs face closure under MCO 3.0. Link.
- Malaysia Now. (2021). ‘Pasar malam’ back with very few customers but better than nothing, say traders. Link.
- NST. (2021). MCO 2.0: Hawkers glad to continue business. Link.
- The Star. (2022). Hawkers want to put zero-business days behind them. Link.