PETALING JAYA: Despite the economic recovery, one owner who has opted out of the restaurant business is Datuk Lum Tuck Loy.

The chairman of the Selangor and Federal Territory Ku Su Shin Choong Hung Chinese Restaurants Association said although many of them would want to make a comeback, few would find it easy to stay afloat.

Lum, who founded KLT Food Industries which produces the famous Kum Lun Tai mooncakes, said he had sold off the last of the six outlets under his restaurant group late last year.

“I have no plans to reopen because I’m not young anymore. It’s not easy to run a restaurant business now, what with the challenges of getting workers and coping with the high costs and overheads,” said the 78-year-old.

Lum will, however, maintain the other aspect of his food business and continue offering mooncakes and a variety of pastries.

“But the prices of raw materials like salted egg yolks, lotus seeds and winter melon sugar have risen by 20%,” he added.

Anticipating better days for restaurant operators, Lum asked the government to work with industry players to achieve a conducive environment for a quicker recovery.“There is no use when we do not have enough workers to serve hungry customers or when we have to spend too much to hire one from abroad. These should be made less of a hassle for operators. It will be a win-win situation when we do well together,” he added.