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Makan Place-d In A Difficult Situation

Many tenants at MKP feel changes are a necessary evil, while some believe change

will not help the business at all

by Ng Zi En, Beatrice

Stalls in Makan Place (MKP) at Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) changed cuisine and

concept due to poor business within months of operation.

In the last quarter of 2016, a total of three concept changes took place among the

stals. Regular patrons of MKP expressed great irritation at the frequent change in stall


Chng Xuan Ting, 18, a second year Accountancy student, who visits MKP about

thrice a week, said: “It’s rather annoying that they keep switching the stalls, especially

when my favourite stall is the one being switched out.”

Other students translated their irritations into action by reducing their visits to MKP.

Second year Biomedical Engineering student Gautham Vijayan S/O Kumaran, 18,

said that he used to visit MKP around four times a week until his favourite salad stall

ceased operations six months ago. He now visits MKP at most twice a week.
A stall selling crepes took over business from the salad stall. It ceased operations after

three months.

Tenants at MKP, however, said that changes were necessary to keep business afloat.

Won Li Hao, 27, owns the ramen stall at MKP. He previously sold grilled skewers at

the same location for three weeks.

Mr Won discovered that the main reason for the lack of business was in patrons

viewing grilled skewers as snacks instead of proper meals. During lunch hours when

MKP would be packed, he realized his stall “would always have the shortest queue”.

The lack of business as early as the first day of operation prompted Mr Won to go

back to the drawing board.

The two-week long process of changing the entire setup of the stall proved to be a

decision well made. Mr Won noticed a significant increase in sales after the change

almost immediately.

Previously selling an estimate of 60 plates of grilled skewers set meals a day, he now

sells and average of 400 bowls of ramen everyday.

“The ramen stall’s my salvation plan, I’m glad it turned out well,” said Mr Won.
Timothy Seow, 29, another tenant at MKP, owns the pasta stall. He has been running

the stall since 2014 and once turned his pasta stall into a yakitori stall.

Mr Seow said that he decided to change the concept of his store because he was tired

of cooking and staying in the kitchen for long hours. On average, he spends around

eight hours in the kitchen cooking pasta that is made-to-order faily.

The ex-special need educator sold about 400 plates of pasta a day before the stall

change. The number decreases to less than 100 within a week of the change.

The sales drop prompted Mr Seow to revert his decision of changing the stall concept.

On the first day of re-operation, he sold 300 plates of pasta, proving that the change

back to the pasta stall was a popular decision.

Both Mr Won and Mr Seow credited conducting surveys ensure that they catered to

the tastebuds of the majority.

MKP’s manager, Mr Samuel Lim, said that changes were not only necessary to keep

business afloat , bit to offer variety like crazy. He saw many stall changes four years

into his job and found that the change still kept the wide variety in food choices for


The 30 year-old said: “Our goal is always to provide better food to our customers and

many times changes mean that.”

Some tenants, despite poor business, however, refused to change their stall concepts.

Adrian Lee Seng Pheow, 20, operates a family business selling curry and Ipoh

cuisines. Since the first day of operation in October 2016, business has been capped at

around 65 bowls per day without much improvement.

Instead of changing the concept of the stall, Mr Lee is looking for another tenant to

take over business from him.

“ I don’t think changing will be of much help (to the business),” said Mr Lee.