Over the past number of weeks, Malaysians who are looking to enjoy a decent meal without having to spend too much from their pockets have welcomed the introduction of the Menu Rahmah initiative. Launched by the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry back on January 31st, 2023, the move was meant to help cushion the blow that the country’s steadily rising cost of living had on ordinary folks, especially when dining out.
Penang restaurant winds down Menu Rahmah
Since then, a number of the nation’s largest fast-food chains such as Burger King and McDonald’s, as well as retail supermarkets including AEON and MYDIN, have unveiled their own Menu Rahmah options for budget-conscious customers. This has consequently led to a ripple-effect of other smaller businesses joining in by introducing similar offerings under the same banner.
With that said, being able to sustain a business while offering cut-price menu options may not be sustainable for some eateries, especially when they lack the necessary resources to compensate for selling their meals below cost. And in the case of Tong Kayu Cafe Original, they have been left with no choice but to discontinue their Menu Rahmah meals only after a few weeks since it debuted.
Could no longer sustain the losses incurred
In a TikTok video that was shared to their socials, the restaurant’s founder, Fakhrul, explained that they were forced to make the decision after they sustained losses as a result of the menu’s lackluster popularity among diners.
“There were two reasons for the discontinuation, the first one was due to economic factors. I don’t own huge capital and my business is just a normal one.
Secondly, the response was so poor that it led to losses,” he said.
His restaurant had initially offered two meal options under the Menu Rahmah initiative — white rice with chicken cooked in soy sauce and white rice with turmeric fried chicken.
And despite only preparing 15 plates per meal, they were not able to sell them all, which meant that they have to be given away. He acknowledges that he was not compelled by the government to introduce the Menu Rahmah initiative in his own restaurant, and had done so on his own with the hope of supporting the government’s decision.
In a separate video, Fakhrul goes on to explain that they did not make much profit off from their Menu Rahmah dishes and needed to sell them at larger volumes to be sustainable. However, he thanks his loyal customers all the same for their support.
His video, which has since gone viral, has been met with praise by netizens who recognised his sincerity in wanting to help out the underprivileged, while also being honest about his own business circumstances.
“Bro you’re honest and sincere in wanting to help, and have exhibited values of charity and generosity. I’ll come back for your cendol. If it’s not tasty, you can pay for us! [a catchphrase Fakhrul uses]”
“We too pray that your business continues to succeed and will see even more triumphs in the near future. Inshaallah.”
“It’s okay bro, you tried to help. At least you’re better than those who don’t do anything, but still criticise. May you be generously blessed in the future.”
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Also read: Melaka homestay owner takes a page out of Menu Rahmah, only charges RM5 for B40 families to stay per night