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IPOH, Jan 19, 2016:

Amid rising living costs affecting Malaysians, a master baker is keeping customers loyal and satisfied by refusing to increase the price of his food items.

Senior citizen Mok Hong Phee had maintained the price of his hugely popular egg tarts for the last few years at RM1.50 apiece although other confectioners are selling them for up to RM2 each.

Citing an example of rising production costs, he said prices of plastics bags had increased three times last year, during January, April and December.

The reasons given by the supplier were costlier raw materials, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the weak ringgit.

However, Mok is happy to absorb the rising costs to maintain good customer relations.

Despite the lower profit margin, business has increased by a significant percentage thanks to his returning customers and word of mouth.

His loyal customers recommend his egg tarts to others, especially those from outstation.

Mok said some of his customers had been around for 40 years, from the time he started his business.

“Clearly, there are many benefits in retaining my customers.

“These days customers are smart. They will not buy from me simply because they know me or because my stall is nearby, or even because it’s cheaper than others.

“These days, people are more inclined to try and find the best deal. They may not return again if I don’t give them what they need,” he told The Rakyat Post in an interview.

Freshly baked egg tarts awaiting customers at Mok's stall in Ipoh
Freshly-baked egg tarts awaiting customers at Mok Hong Phee’s stall in Ipoh. — TRP pic by Fernando Fong

It is not uncommon for his customers, some from as far as Johor and Singapore, to purchase more than 100 egg tarts at one go.

He said some customers appreciated that he had not increased his prices.

“Some others say they will gladly pay more for my egg tarts.

“I tell them I would be more than happy if they just continued to be supportive of my business.”

He added little things went a long way to make customers happy, such as remembering their names.

The egg tart stall business began in the late 1950s when Mok started out as an apprentice cook with a popular dim sum eatery in Ipoh. Mok is now assisted by his family members.

Besides the egg tarts, Mok also produces shat keh ma (egg flour biscuits), kai zai paeng (chicken biscuits), hap tou sou (walnut cookies) and Swiss rolls.

He sleeps early and rises at 3am to make the egg tarts.

The stall in Jalan Dato Onn Jaafar opens for business at 8am and the egg tarts are usually sold out by noon.

Senior citizen Mok Hong Phee, now in his 70s
Senior citizen Mok Hong Phee, now in his 70s, started his stall in the 1950s. Here, he is showing his popular ‘shat keh ma’ (egg flour biscuits). — TRP pic by Fernando Fong
 

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