Recently, the National Environmental Agency (NEA) held a round of hawker stall biddings.
For the unaware, hawker stall biddings are carried out monthly; the relevant information of the available stalls will be posted on NEA’s website and newspapers prior to the bidding.
The highest bidder gets to rent the stall, although NEA reserves the right to reject bids.
And it’s no secret that rental costs (or any kind of costs, really) aren’t cheap, especially in Singapore.
But most of us still probably wouldn’t think about paying $5,000 or more for a hawker stall.
However, it seems like some are still willing to fork out that sum of money.
In NEA’s most recent tender exercise, a bid of $5,555 for tendered rent was submitted for a stall at Eunos Crescent Market and Food Centre.
I don’t know about you, but maybe the bidder really loves the number five.
Another stall at Bendemeer Food Centre also saw a similarly high bid of $5,000.
And yes, both bids broke the record for the highest bids ever for their two respective food centre.
Previous Stallholder Closed Down Due to High Costs and Lack of Business
When speaking to 8world, the previous stallholder at Eunos explained that he chose to close down his business due to the high costs of maintaining the stall and the lack of business.
According to him, he needs to spend at least $9,000 each month on rent, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and other costs.
He added that he heard that the new hawker would be selling nasi lemak and that they have a stall at Tampines too.
According to NEA’s website, the stall can sell halal food or Indian cuisine.
The stallholder also pointed out that as long as the hawker’s food is good, customers will still buy food from them even if it is expensive.
Another hawker said that hawkers cannot just wait for customers to appear at their stall; they need to know how to market their products, especially on social media.
Other Stallholders’ Reactions
Many stallholders from Bendemeer Food Centre were shocked that someone bid $5,000 for a stall.
When speaking to 8world, some questioned what the hawker was going to sell and if they were going to price it at a costly price, which would be detrimental to their business, especially in a hawker centre setting.
Another hawker who runs a family business said that even rent of $3,000 to $4,000 is “an issue” to them, let alone $5,000.
On the other hand, some hawkers speculated that the new hawker might sell food for both lunch and dinner times to make up for the cost of maintaining the stall, especially since it would cost the hawker even more money if assistants are hired.
The hawkers interviewed by 8world also mentioned that more elderly live in the Bendemeer area and that their spending power is usually lower.
According to them, a meal at the food centre is usually priced at around $4.
Market Association Chairmans’ Opinion
Mr Xu (Hanyu pinyin), the Chairman of the Eunos Crescent Block 4A Market Association, told Shin Min Daily News that the market consists of 42 stalls.
Based on the cuisine that the current stalls offer, he predicted that the stall would sell Malay cuisine.
He also mentioned how he believes that the high demand for Malay cuisine in the area was the reason behind the high bid.
As for the stall at Bendemeer, it can sell cooked food, halal cooked food, Indian cuisine, drinks or cut fruit.
Mr Yan Jiabao (Hanyu pinyin), the Chairman of the Bendemeer Market and Food Centre Association, said that the food centre is usually more crowded than other hawker centres, with around half of the consumers being elderly.
He also revealed that most stalls pay around $1,800 in rent every month.
Earlier this year in March, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor shared in Parliament that the government is working towards offering hawkers “reasonable rentals”.
Measures that the government has put in place include having no minimum bid, as well as an appropriate adjustment of rent after the first three years based on the market rate.
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