Smart features not to blame for poor business at Yishun Park

I notice that smart features like automated systems have been blamed for the poor business at Yishun Park Hawker Centre (Perks on the menu at struggling food centre; April 24).

However, it seems to me that the problem is high rental without the crowd to justify the rate.

I have been told that mature hawker stalls, like those in Chong Pang, have a rental rate that is much lower than the new stalls.

The large crowds also allow mature hawker stalls to sustain their low selling price, which, in turn, attracts even more people to patronise these eating places.

With many cheaper coffee shops and the Chong Pang hawker centre nearby, it is no wonder things are going wrong at Yishun Park.

Besides higher prices, the food quality at Yishun Park is also only average, and there is no famous stall or unique feature to draw crowds.

For these reasons, even residents living nearby do not go there regularly for their meals.

It is unlikely that many will drive to Yishun Park to have a meal just because of free parking.

The petrol cost and the higher price of the meal will easily offset any parking fee savings.

I hope the authorities can lower the high rent to help Yishun Park compete and attract more crowds, rather than to allow the smart nation movement to take the blame.

Wong Boon Hong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2018, with the headline 'Smart features not to blame for poor business at Yishun Park'. Print Edition | Subscribe