I didn't notice much difference when we took our seats, except that I thought the place looked rather simple. Then came the menu... it too was simple but what was interesting was the food was relatively cheap for a place like Gurney.
We had 2 fried rice and one sar-hor-fun plus 2 glasses of iced chrysenthum tea. And the bill came up to only RM16.30!! RM4 for a plate (Lil One's had an extra fried egg which made hers cost more). Service was quick. I took a look around and noticed that they serve economy rice for lunch too. There were also some kuih(s) on the counter. Food tasted okay... almost like the hawker fare at the Esplanade. Just a couple doors away, the cheapest meal that I saw was around RM10++ tax included.
The enterprising owner had seen a market in this upmarket shopping complex and zeroed in; the workers. I am sure many would not want to spend more than RM10 on one meal. He had seen the opportunity and jumped in, providing convenience for those who work in the shopping mall a place to have their meals. In the half an hour we were there, I noticed that his phone was busy, the little cafe was too. His cafe took take-away orders and didn't seem to be short of them.
Just another thought here... I think the environment too sometimes compels us to move. I notice in Alor Setar, stalls would sprout out just about anywhere. I notice too that these are usually mostly Malay stalls. Chinese stalls don't get much leeway from the authorities according to word on the ground... if they open a stall by the roadside, the enforcement would shut them down or tell them to move to hawker stalls.
But by not having higher operating costs, no rental to pay, these very often become a stumbling block to the hawkers themselves.They operate on whims (ikut mood) sometimes because they their commitments are less.
But when commitments are forced onto us, we tend to work harder and as a result, become more resilient, achieve more... from stall operator to restaurant operator and eventually to property owner.... it boils down to hard work, the willingness to work hard. Sometimes the preferential system which is supposed to give the Malays an edge become the stumbling block.... to them as well.
Opportunities.... while've to be enterprising enough to identify them and take the necessary actions when we see them, the environment also compels us to achieve more.