Interdependent Relationship of Food Center and Customer

The food center is often seen as a place where the poor can get inexpensive meals, but there are also many wealthy families who dine there. After all, frequenting restaurants limits their ability to taste different foods.

Categorizing food centers as places for the poor isn’t entirely accurate. However, not all customers patronize the beverage stalls at these centers. Some people opt not to order drinks to save money, while others prefer plain water or iced tea. Some enjoy drinks like jelly ice. In short, customers have varied preferences when it comes to beverages.

Today, food center owners lean towards profit-making mentalities. They’ve set many rules, some of which include not selling plain water or iced tea, and even charging table fees. As soon as customers enter, they’re expected to spend, or risk being asked to leave.

It seems they disregard the struggles of impoverished individuals, showing no empathy. This stands in stark contrast to some economic restaurants that offer free drinking water, a gesture of goodwill towards customers.

During economic downturns in Malaysia, luxury restaurants often become deserted while food centers thrive. In Puchong, food centers, burdened with higher rents, impose a RM2 table fee even if customers don’t order drinks, leaving customers feeling frustrated. Some perceive food centers as becoming increasingly money-minded, prompting grassroots boycotts.

The Chinese community’s boycott of food centers isn’t as effective as Malay boycotts of McDonald’s, Starbucks, or KFC. Brands facing boycotts in Malaysia are left in dire straits. Chinese boycotts of food centers fail to yield significant results, as many acknowledge the challenges these businesses face. Apart from those food centers that exploit customers and label them as unable to afford drinks, others remain unaffected.

Compassion is key. Food centers, as establishments serving the masses, should exhibit compassion. Some customers refrain from sugary drinks and opt for plain water or iced tea. If customers are willing to purchase these items, food centers should understand and allow them to enjoy affordable drinks. The relationship between food centers and customers is symbiotic. However, if conflicts arise and customers resort to boycotts, food centers will inevitably face repercussions.

To address the issue of table fees or selling expensive drinks, customers may opt to order takeaway meals. If food centers face unified customer actions, their beverage stalls may inevitably face boycotts and suffer neglect. Some jest that customers will soon need to bring extra cups and spoons to food centers, as additional requests may incur extra charges. It seems the beverage stalls are truly driven by profit.