PETALING JAYA: The increasing cost of raw food ingredients is contributing to the price hike in some eateries, say restaurant associations.
Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association vice-president C. Krishnan said these included vegetables, poultry, milk, spices and other sources of protein.
“Almost all the raw ingredient prices have gone up. The government should look into this issue and provide solutions to restaurant owners and consumers as well,” he said.
Krishnan added that the rise in prices was probably due to a lack of manpower at the “production level”, and cited vegetables as an example.
“The lack of manpower at vegetable farms, which rely mainly on foreign workers, has affected the whole value chain,” he said.
Besides the price hike in ingredients, most restaurants were also struggling to keep afloat, he said, adding that since the pandemic began, more than 1,000 restaurants in his association had closed down.
“Some restaurants had to adapt to new mechanisms such as utilising technology for their service in efforts to limit human interaction to curb the virus.
“However, this involves a lot of investment and some restaurants could not afford this,” he added.
Krishnan said some restaurants had accumulated debts that need to be paid back.
Pan Malaysia Koo Soo Restaurants and Chefs Association vice-president Datuk Ringo Kaw said it was important for consumers to know the reason for the price hike.
He said besides the higher cost of ingredients, restaurants also had to limit seating capacity and operating hours.
He urged the government to consider the fact that restaurant owners still had to pay full rental despite not being able to generate enough revenue.
Kaw said restaurants also had to bear the cost of non-food materials to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections, such as swab tests for employees, sanitisers, hand gloves and face masks.
“This extra cost is also one of the reasons some restaurants had to increase prices,” he added.
Malaysian Indian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association president Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan said restaurant owners should avoid increasing prices as a way to help the community.
“Our stand is clear and we even have distributed a circular to our members to not increase prices at their restaurants.
“Everyone is struggling and not increasing your prices is one way to play a part to help the community revive,” he added.
“This is not the time to increase the price of food.”