Adapting With New Norm, 114 yo Traditional Cafe In Penang Is Changing Gears

When you look at it, the pandemic can be both a blessing and a curse. However, reality hits hard on local small eateries. Regrettably, a lot of businesses just can’t survive this harsh wave and were forced to shut down. While most are driven to change their business SOP. However, there is a faint hope that with the new norm, things will go back to the way it used to be.

contact tracing
Photo: @AsiaOne

Starting Up Business Early To Ensure Survival

Yesterday, the traditional coffee shop in Penang, Kek Seng Cafe in Penang Road has already set up tables to accept dine-in customers. The cafe survived all odds through three generations. Thus to secure their future, the owner, Cheow Sow Lei, 53, insisted they can’t wait for a precise Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) anymore.

social distancing
Photo: @Presto (Facebook)

“Since the movement control order (MCO), I have lost almost 90% of my customers, including tourists. There used to be about 20 tables for over 50 people in our double shop lot but now, we will only see 10 tables with the reopening. Smaller tables will have one chair and bigger tables will have two, ” she said.

social distancing
Photo: @timemagazine

Cheow continued that they still need to make sure the new conduct is practical for the six other hawker stall in the coffee shop. Profits were shared among the six hawkers thus implementing the SOP might not even worth the trouble. Starting early means that they might have a few loopholes in their operation thus Cheow is hopeful that the authorities will not fine but educate them instead if they are doing something wrong. Cheong said, “We are losing money every week and we are barely hanging on,”

social diatancing mamak
Photo: @MalayMail (Facebook)

Contact Tracing With Three Steps

The dine-in process has to be a little bit more elaborate as to comply with Penang Contact Tracer (PGCare). Customers will have to register their name and contact number before entering the cafe. Theere are three steps altogether for customers to complete upon check-in; scan the QR code, fill in their personal information, and declare this to the operators of food and beverage premises.

Only the state government can access the data. Cheow said they would only give out the data upon request for contact tracing. The system can be accessed via or

Source: AsiaOne

Also Read: 10 Fun Beauty Hacks Using Essential Food From Kitchen Including Sugar Body Scrub


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