Rental of $3,000 for hawker stalls not representative

We refer to Ms Joyce Lim's report, (Hawker centre model to be fine-tuned: Amy Khor; Sept 8).

The report presented a list of monthly fixed operating costs for a hawker at Hawker Centre@Our Tampines Hub, including a monthly rental of $3,000.

This is not representative of stall rentals at this hawker centre, as only three out of the 42 stalls have a monthly rental of $3,000.

Other than one stall with a rental of $1,500, the remaining 38 stalls have a rental of $2,000 each.

The list also included a $1,200 monthly cost to hire a worker to tend the night shift.

Only a third of the stalls have extended 24-hour operations.

The list included a cost of $3,000 a month, being "10 per cent food discount to be absorbed by stallholders".

As such a discount is part of a pricing plan to attract customers to the centre, and is proportional to the business volume and revenue, it would not be appropriate to cite it as a cost.

The discount does not apply to food items priced at $2.80, which all stalls have to offer two of.

Centralised dishwashing and cleaning costs were also cited in the list.

Besides rental, stallholders in all hawker centres as well as other food establishments have such ancillary costs as part of their business operations.

At our new hawker centres, the managing agents procure such operational services so that stallholders need focus on only their business.

For example, centralised dishwashing has improved cleanliness levels and increased productivity, and stallholders need not purchase their own crockery or hire hawker assistants to wash it.

As community dining rooms, our hawker centres provide good and affordable food for Singaporeans.

We also want to ensure that our hawkers earn a decent living so that the hawker trade can be sustained.

The alternative management model for new hawker centres has brought benefits to both patrons and stallholders, including providing a good and affordable mix of food, operating efficiency and innovative ideas.

We welcome feedback and will continue to refine the models for our future hawker centres.

Ivy Ong (Ms)

Director

Hawker Centres Division

National Environment Agency

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2018, with the headline 'Rental of $3,000 for hawker stalls not representative'. Print Edition | Subscribe