It has been weeks since we started the MCO period and most Malaysians are getting restless as the period keeps getting extended. But no one is more affected by the current situation than the uncles and aunties who are running those gerais by the roadside. These businesses rely on day-to-day sales to gain a source of income but with most people staying in, these hawkers have found that running a business (at least, in the traditional sense) is near impossible.
Such is the case for 24-year-old Syafiqa who currently runs an F&B stall called 73 Coffee House.
From humble beginnings to success
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The 73 Coffee House, that specialises in coffee beverages, was started by Syafiqa’s dad. Much like other sellers out there, this family business also had its humble beginnings. They first started by setting up a DIY stall in front of their house back in 2016 and serving takeaway drinks to the customers.
As they slowly progressed by introducing new menu items, the hardships and all their hard work began to pay off when they started to gain more recognition from loyal customers and turned one stall into three, complete with tables and chairs to provide a comfy lepak spot for dining customers.
Struggles due to the MCO since day #1
Unfortunately, 73 Coffee House, along with many other hawkers nationwide, stumbled upon a huge setback when our government first announced the Movement Control Order and Malaysians everywhere were advised to stay at home at all times. According to Syafiqa, the family tried to remain optimistic and still decided to proceed with the business on the first day of MCO, but only allowed takeaway orders.
“Even from the first day, we noticed a huge difference. We had no customers and we didn’t even see anyone on the streets as people were obeying the government’s order to stay inside.”
The situation is even worse for Syafiqa as her stall is not located on a public street with lots of traffic. She explained that all this while, the stall grew through word of mouth and recommendations from customers within the stall’s close vicinity. This meant that with the absence of their loyal customers, it would be hard for them to attract new ones.
With that, Syafiqa’s family decided to shut down 73 Coffee House indefinitely
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The decision to pause the business certainly did not come easily, as the stall had been their main source of income for years. The revenue they garnered from the stall would usually be used for daily spendings and other necessities, which was why it was worrying for them to lose such a huge resource for the family.
As the family awaits the end of the MCO period that keeps getting pushed further, Syafiqa and her family have to rely on their savings, as well as governmental aids such as zakat and the recently announced Economic Stimulus package, in order to survive and pay off their commitments.
“We were extremely worried when we found out that MCO was getting extended. None of our family members are currently working since we’re all committed to this stall. With our savings running low, the extension is not just impacting our business but our whole livelihood.”
Trying out a new venture
Soon enough, Syafiqa received a phone call that seemed like the answer to her and her family’s prayers. A Maybank employee called and offered her stall a part in Maybank’s latest online venture called Sama-Sama Lokal.
As part of their initiative to help small-time hawkers and gerai owners to stay afloat during these difficult times, Maybank introduced Sama-Sama Lokal, an online platform on Maybank2u that helps connect customers to their favourite local food stalls that might not be available on food delivery apps.
And how do you order through Sama-Sama Lokal? Simple! All you need to do is visit the website, search for your favourite hawkers and contact them directly to place an order. Maybank2u will arrange the delivery of your order and the best part is, delivery is FREE for selected locations! So, check out the website now to find out which of your favourite restaurants have free delivery.
Syafiqa mentioned that the reason she decided to apply for this service, instead of all the other food delivery services out there, was because of the simplified mechanism in the ordering process. She was also delighted at how the online application was super easy and there are also NO charges for the merchants to be listed on the platform.
“This service will definitely ease up the financial burden of hawkers as it’s more convenient for both the sellers and consumers, especially since we’re communicating via WhatsApp and phone calls which are what we’re most familiar with.”
She commended Maybank’s efforts to introduce this service as she believes that this will be able to help tons of merchants out there, considering that this timely launch comes just ahead of the extension of the MCO until 28 April 2020.
Apart from helping the merchants, it will also offer contentment to consumers as we stay at home for a while longer.
Other than your favourite hawkers, consumers can also head to Sama-Sama Lokal to get your groceries, health services & food delivery services. The best thing about shopping with these suppliers? You’ll be supporting our lokal business heroes in this time of need!
Interested to try out these new features? For more information on Sama-Sama Lokal, simply visit their website for the list of merchants and how to order. And if you’d like to support more hawkers like Syafiqa, you can even recommend your favourite hawker stalls on the website and Maybank2u will reach out to them!
May our community continue to persevere as we get through this hardship together. We can do this!
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