Covid-19: In Bangsar, restaurant owners see sharp drop in delivery orders, takeaways

Staff at Devi's Corner stacks up chairs as the movement control order kicks in on March 18, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Staff at Devi's Corner stacks up chairs as the movement control order kicks in on March 18, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — The usually bustling Jalan Telawi, Bangsar is nothing like what most are familiar with on a daily basis today.

Ample parking lots are available on every Telawi street and barely any pedestrians can be seen.

Today is the first day that eateries are operating on the ‘takeaway’ option only following the restriction of movement order issued by the government on Monday.

Despite the initial concern of lacking in meal options offered by restaurants, owners of several eateries said they are experiencing a significant drop in delivery order numbers.

Speaking to Malay Mail, Devi’s Corner manager Francis Johnson said it was puzzling that food delivery orders have dropped compared to normal operational days.

“Usually by lunchtime, we would have at least 100 delivery orders. Today, we have only received about 10 to 20 orders.

Devi's Corner manager Francis Johnson speaks to Malay Mail during an interview in Bangsar March 18, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Devi's Corner manager Francis Johnson speaks to Malay Mail during an interview in Bangsar March 18, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

“We expected more delivery orders as that is the only option for restaurants to sell their meals and for regular customers who usually eat at our restaurant,” said Johnson.

No tables and chairs were seen at the Telawi sidewalk where most restaurants including Devi’s usually have alfresco diners.

While many have decided to close for business, those who are open only have partial shutters lifted for takeaway and delivery purposes.

“Maybe people are not sure if we are opened for takeaway and delivery, so they prefer to cook at home.

“Hopefully in the days to come business will pick up,” he added.

Similarly, Q Bistro operations manager Francis Xavier Thomas said the restaurant outlet in Jalan Telawi Bangsar has been exceptionally quiet compared to other outlets including Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI).

“Strangely Bangsar is very quiet. Other areas business is still okay, not very busy but not as quiet as Bangsar.

Q Bistro operations manager Francis Xavier Thomas speaks to Malay Mail during an interview in Bangsar March 18, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Q Bistro operations manager Francis Xavier Thomas speaks to Malay Mail during an interview in Bangsar March 18, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

“For the Q Cafe near the DBKL (Kuala Lumpur City Hall), we have decided to shut as traffic is more from the working crowd there. Since all offices are shut, no point we stay open.

“Right now we are depending on delivery and takeaway orders, but it has been very slow even at lunchtime,” he added.

As for VCR Bangsar, its cafe manager, who requested anonymity, said sales including delivery orders have dropped.

According to the cafe manager, they were expecting a ‘mad rush’ since food can only be ordered via delivery or takeaway, but since morning 7.30am, they have not seen many customers popping by for takeaway meals.

“We’ve actually prepared for takeaway and delivery orders, expecting a mad rush.

“But even our regulars, not many came,” said the cafe manager.

The cafe manager added that it has decided to stay open as it has a big team to support, and hence cannot risk losing business by opting to shut the cafe for the entire restriction of movement order period.

Located on Telawi 2, for patrons of Yeast and other restaurants such as Antipodean and Jaslyn’s Cakes, parking is almost non-existent be it a weekday or during the weekends.

“But today, you can park anywhere you like, to takeaway. That’s what we are telling our customers, you don’t have to worry about parking today in Telawi, Bangsar,” Yeast managing director Frank D. Ruidavet said.

When asked how the restaurant was coping, Ruidavet said it was too early to tell, but that he is hoping that people will get used to this idea of taking away away.

“It’s hard times for all of us, but we have to do this for the safety of the public,” he said.

This is the first time in Malaysian history that the country has to undergo a movement restriction order due to a disease outbreak.

The order has been implemented as an effort to reduce the spreading of the Covid-19. The government has also since encouraged Malaysians to practice social distancing to reduce body contact.

It was reported that 120 new cases were recorded yesterday, bringing the new total of positive cases in Malaysia to 673.

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