INDIVIDUALS looking to get into business now that the country is in transition to the endemic phase of Covid-19 may consider operating food trucks.
Johor Indian Petty Traders and Small Business Association President D. Ravindran said they can apply for financial aid programs and business incentives offered by federal and state governments to start their business.
Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) and Iskandar Puteri City Council (MBIP) are also encouraging more people to join the food truck business, he said.
“The time has come as the Malaysian economy is on the road to recovery after two years of uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said when contacted.
Ravindran said many food operators especially in Johor Baru district have ceased operations during the various movement control orders.
While some operators have completely shut down their business, others are planning to restart their business, he added.
“At the same time, there are also new entrants into the food and beverage industry, especially young people.”
Ravindran advised newcomers to choose the food truck concept over opening an outlet, as it would give them flexibility in terms of opening hours and they could operate at any location designated by the local authorities.
“Typically, food truck operators can recoup their investment in the second year of operation,” he said.
Ravindran said the opening of the Malaysia-Singapore border since April 1 is expected to further positively impact Johor’s economy, especially Johor Baru, by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, President of the Johor Baru City Businessmen and Merchants Association, Roland Lim, said many of its members who went out of business during the MCO now plan to resume business. .
Most of them, he said, had been running food stalls at various kopitiam in Johor Baru for many years but were forced to close when business was hit hard by the pandemic.
“During the pre-Covid-19 days, the majority of local customers who lived in Johor Baru and worked in Singapore would commute to work daily.
“They would frequent the kopitiam around 5 a.m. for breakfast before going to the republic or when returning home from their night shift,” he said.
Lim said those planning to restart their business might not get their old batches back from cafes that have been leased to other food operators.
“We hope that MBJB can allocate these operators a place in the hawking centers because most of them still have a valid license, which they renewed in 2020 and 2021 although they are not operating.
Lim said another problem faced by operators was the RM1,500 minimum wage system which started this year.
“Hopefully the government can exempt them from paying this to their stand helpers,” he added.