Last Updated on 2023-02-26 , 5:20 pm
If there’s one thing that all of us will definitely notice when dining out, it’s if the food that we’re ordering has increased in price.
Especially if the price has doubled.
At first glance, it seems like that’s the case for patrons who have visited stalls of the popular Bedok Chwee Kueh brand in Singapore.
The brand, which has seven outlets across Singapore, was the first chwee kueh establishment to be awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand.
Recently, Shin Min Daily News received tip-offs which pointed out that the famous chwee kueh chain increased the price of its chwee kueh from $0.60 to $1.20.
And for those of us who’ve left all our maths knowledge with our primary school teachers, that’s double the price.
But it seems like there’s another reason behind the price increase, and perhaps it’s not really a price increase at all.
Here’s what reporters from Shin Min found out.
Stall Actually “Didn’t” Increase Prices
When reporters from Shin Min visited the Bedok Chwee Kueh stall at Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre yesterday (22 February) night, the owner of the stall explained why exactly the “increase” in the price for his stall’s chwee kueh occurred.
In fact, he said that it wasn’t an increase at all.
New $1.20 Version is Twice the Size of the $0.60 Version
The owner, Mr Chen Aimin (Hanyu pinyin), told Shin Min that the chain decided to “merge two small chwee kuehs into one large chwee kueh” and that the amount of ingredients that go into making one “big” chwee kueh is the same as the amount used for two “small” ones.
By that logic, since the portion size has doubled, the “double” in price isn’t actually a price increase after all.
Did So to Decrease the Number of Bowls Washed Every Day
As for why the chain decided to do so, Mr Chen, 56, revealed that the staff at Bedok Chwee Kueh stalls used to wash over 10,000 small chwee kueh bowls every day across the seven outlets.
Additionally, the chain has been facing a lack of manpower for quite some time now.
Hence, the brand ultimately decided to sell chwee kuehs in larger bowls instead in order to reduce the number of bowls washed daily by 5,000.
When speaking about how the chwee kueh bowls are washed, he mentioned that it’s not as easy as most people may think.
Since the chwee kueh bowls have oil on them, staff members cannot wash them in a dishwasher as it may leave behind grime.
Once the bowls dry, removing the grime from the bowls will be very difficult.
Instead, they have to wash every bowl by hand.
Not the First Time the Stall Has Changed Their Chwee Kueh Portion Sizes
Apart from that, Mr Chen also added that this isn’t the first time that Bedok Chwee Kueh has changed the portion size of their chwee kueh.
The brand did so once around six to seven years ago when they did the same thing by “merging” two of their original portions to form a new larger portion.
Mr Chen added that this time, he did not take their decision to change the chain’s chwee kueh from the $0.60 portion to the $1.20 portion lightly and that the decision took him around four months to finalise.
He also revealed that he spent tens of thousands of dollars to purchase new bowls for the chain and emphasised that he only came up with the idea due to the lack of manpower.
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