Kay Lee sale: Diners worried about quality after new owners take over

Diners that Life! spoke to were surprised to find out that the 40-year-old institution, owned by Madam Betty Kong (above), had been sold last month to electronics firm Aztech Group for $4 million. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
Diners that Life! spoke to were surprised to find out that the 40-year-old institution, owned by Madam Betty Kong (above), had been sold last month to electronics firm Aztech Group for $4 million. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

It was business as usual at Kay Lee Roast Meat Joint at 125 Upper Paya Lebar Road during lunch service today.

Queues for the outlets famous char siew, roast duck and roast pork started to form close to noon, later than usual because of the morning downpour.

Diners that Life! spoke to were surprised to find out that the 40-year-old institution had been sold last month to electronics firm Aztech Group for $4 million.

They were also worried about how the new owners would maintain the quality of the food once they take over on Nov 18.

Personal trainer Jennifer Teng, 47, who dines at Kay Lee twice a week, said: “If I don’t see Madam Kong, I may not come back. But I do hope they maintain the standard.

"The food is expensive, but as long as I can afford it, I don’t mind paying.”

Renovation contractor Frankie Ong, 47, who has been eating at Kay Lee at least once a month for more than 20 years, said: “Sometimes if there are long queues, I don’t have to queue because the boss recognises me. I don’t know what it will be like after the new owners take over, but as long as the food is good, I’ll be back.”

Owner Betty Kong, 68, was assuring diners that she and her husband, Mr Ha Wai Kay, 64, will still be at the outlet to train the new staff and ensure quality control.

She said in Mandarin: “My husband has started training the new chefs and we will be here to ensure that Kay Lee continues to do well. We can’t bear to let the business go, but we have to for the sake of our health.”

euniceq@sph.com.sg