Back in March, the owners of China Street Fritters wanted to take a break from their business and sell their iconic 80-year-old recipe for $1 million, most Singaporeans thought the deal would be sealed in a matter of days.
The reality is that nobody took it up. The two elderly owners have to continue running the stall in spite of their poor health.
Likewise, the owners of Korat Thai Cafe in Orchard Towers recently announced that they want to retire and hand over the reins to a capable candidate. They reassured that they will teach their successor everything he/she needs to know. But no matter how attractive their deal sounds, it is not easy for them to find someone to take over.
We all know it is difficult to run a food business, especially in Singapore. The rent is sky-high and no matter how the government claims to help stall owners, it is never enough. Who would want to take over a business that is not profitable?
When our hawker culture was named a UNESCO intangible heritage, our government cheered and claimed to advocate for stall owners’ welfare. But are they doing much to reduce costs or lessen their burden? Do they give enough consideration to the problems stall owners face?
These legacy local food brands struck a chord with people but fail to find successors. Is it too naïve to hope for the government to help them? Is it too much to ask them to do their job?