Friday, October 3, 2008


Was in Ampang's famed Korea Town last night. If you haven't been there, no prizes for guessing what the no.1 kind of business, which takes up a good 90% of the town's 'industry', is. (I don't actually have to say it, do I?).

The question is why so many. 

Granted it makes local tourists like me go ooh and ahh and everyone has a good time saying how difficult it is to find the 'best' place but loving the trial-and-error anyway.

Granted nobody complains about a lack of choice and every operator is pushed to excel.

But why, if you're gonna start a business, would you open almost exactly the same kind of shop next to not one or even two other identical ones, but more than three dozen in a very small area?

Is the market so huge and vibrant one expects customers by the (multiple) truck load to come overflowing into the community? (At this point I'd have to say that the evening activity in KoreaTown Ampang is nothing like that in ChinaTown Melbourne let alone London or San Francisco)

Is every other business taxed less? Or are start-up costs the lowest? Or do the K-biz folks feel that one 'cannot go wrong' with food?

The answer, I'd surmise, is related to the last question. K-restaurants have huge margins. Heck, three slices of cold pork can rake in RM30-40 in revenue. One doesn't need many customers a month to break-even. And I suppose when you're a food operator in an alien country (whatever else you might say about your 'second home'), the less risk the better. Maybe the fact that so many restaurants are even surviving proves the point.

Furthermore, indeed, no newcomer to K-Town should ever miss the food. There is frankly no point in going if that's the case.

And yet...I wonder...couldn't there be more grocery stores? More bakeries? More K-boutiques? More K, period?

1 comment:

fatboybakes said...

Hi alwyn, thanks for dropping by my blog. glad you liked the apple pie.