Malaysians nowadays have achieved a high living standard where most individuals spend most of their time working. Therefore, they do not have enough time to cook and opt to dine outside. Most Malaysian prefers to go for a fast food restaurant such as Kentucky Fried Chicken, Mc Donalds and also ‘mamak’ restaurant where they can get satisfactory and fast services. In this research, the focus would go for ‘mamak’ restaurant and why they are successful in Malaysia. However, the scope would be from quality product-based and service-based which are the main divisions of quality.
First of all, we could analyze the phenomenon from product-based point of view. Generally, ‘mamak’ restaurant would have a variety of food and drinks available. There are Indian-based food, kampong-style food, western food some even have cakes and malay delicacies as desert. These varieties of food attract different customers at a different time. For example, in the morning and for breakfast, most people would prefer nasi lemak, roti canai, baked bread or a simple curry puff and all these are offered at the restaurant. In the same time, customers would not get bored with the food as they could always try different food every day. Furthermore, some ‘mamak’ restaurants have specialities such as fresh cow milk, fresh goat milk, nan bread, fruit juices and ice blended. Having these specialities improves their attraction values and in the same time, serves as promotion and marketing. Therefore, by having a diverse range of products, ‘mamak’ restaurant managed to attract different type of customers with different preferences at all time; breakfast, lunch, tea time, dinner and supper.
Second reason from product-based point of view, ‘mamak’ restaurant offers simple, halal or clean food with satisfactory taste and presentation. One of the characteristic for quality product is meeting the requirement from user point of view and it has been achieved by almost all ‘mamak’ restaurants. Simple food such as nasi lemak, roti canai, half-boiled egg and baked bread often chosen by customer as it is simple and easy to eat. This holds true for those who have little time to eat or just need a simple food to give energy especially in the morning. Moreover, most ‘mamak’ restaurant owns and presents a halal certificated which came from or approved by Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM). By showcasing the halal certificate, customer will be pleased and relieved to believe that the foods there are clean and halal. Halal and clean issue does not revolve around muslims only but the whole Malaysian community. Who wants to eat dirty food? Halal certificate does not only prove that the foods are prepared with halal ingredient, but also the way the foods are cooked, presented and preserved. In addition, sometimes, non-muslims also checks if the foods served are halal or not before eating at any restaurant. Lastly, the taste and presentation of the product are at least, satisfactory while some ‘mamak’ restaurants reached good and excellence level. Taste and presentation plays a huge role in quality product and often the main attraction for customers. For example, Air Batu Campur (ABC) with different colours and ice-cream as topping would definitely sells better than a plain, 3-coloured ABC. Other than that, the dish plates that they use are unique and can only be found in ‘mamak’- style restaurant. Most normal restaurant does not have those shining, round dish plates for ‘tosai’ as example. For those reasons; simple food, halal and clean food with satisfactory taste and presentation have became one of the reasons why ‘mamak’ restaurant is successful in Malaysia in product-based point of view.
The second part in this analysis is from the service-based point of view. The first reason is, ‘mamak’ restaurant have a very high availability which create their quality service. The availability came from their 24 hours operating hours, easily found everywhere, sufficient number of employees and spaces and strategic planning. Most ‘mamak’ restaurants are open 24 hours which makes them accessible at anytime. Since different consumers have different meal time preferences, their restaurant will always have customers coming in and out which make their business always running. This can be observed especially in wee hours, morning for breakfast, lunch hours, tea time, dinner time, supper time and even after supper time where people just go there for leisure time with friends and family. In addition, since there are always customer coming in and out, no loss but instead, gains from every operating hours and keep the business running. Hence, ‘mamak’ restaurant became a favourite spot for meals and gathering which makes them successful. Other than that, next facts for the availability would be that they could be found anywhere. Since ‘mamak’ restaurant have grown so much, it is actually possible to find ‘mamak’ restaurant in almost every residency area especially in developed areas. Even though ‘mamak’ community is said to be originated from Penang, they can be found anywhere through Malaysia, including East Malaysia. Even though the restaurant might not be from a same branch, but ‘mamak’ community have made it a norm to open a restaurant everywhere they go and customer always refers them in general, ‘mamak’ restaurant instead of their restaurant name. This is why they are so successful in Malaysia.
Next, with a sufficient number of employees, customer will always have the availability to order product and will always have a clean table to accomodate. This holds true with their great numbers of space where customer will always have a great range of choices to pick their favourite spot and clean table in advanced which earns them a quality service. In addition, they have a quality strategic plan where most of ‘mamak’ restaurant would be in a corner lot which gives them advantage in view and space. Moreover, the parking spaces will be converted to dining tables area which adds to their number of tables available and increase the number of choice for places to sit and will be able to sustain a huge number of customers especially during night time. On the other hand, with huge space, it also offers better privacy where most customers do not like to be seated right next to another customer. It also gives enough space for the waiters to serve the customer and gives a quality service. In addition to have a sufficient number of employees and space, the employees there are very versatile. Some of them could do a few jobs such as a waiter can take orders, sends out the product, clear the tables, cleans the area and in the same time, able to cook the food, mix up the drinks and even do the cashier. Therefore, during the rush or peak hours, ‘mamak’ restaurant very rarely have problems in delivering a quality service.
The second reason why ‘mamak’ restaurant is successful in Malaysia is because they have a high team work between colleagues and managements. This can be seen by their coordination of zones. With sufficient number of employees and a huge space, they need to maximise their service by dividing the areas. If one to observe, one will find that the waiters are stationed in a few ‘hot spots’ in the restaurant. Hot spots here could be defined by a place where the waiter will have maximum field of vision to observed new customer coming in and current customer who might wish for a service. As a result, the waiters able to give a quality response needed and consequently, one’s order will always be taken after they are seated. In addition, the cook and drinks mixer will always be waiter-in-standby whenever they do not have orders to be done. Hence, increasing the zone coverage area and consequently, increase the quality service in terms of respond time.
The next evidence for their high team work would be the unity shown by the workers. This can be seen in the uniform that they wear. Some might says that it is normal for workers to have uniform. However, that uniform can be regard as a unity sign when compared to normal restaurant where the workers only wear smart casual clothes. Why would unity be a good service to the customer? This is actually significant for customers to identify the workers especially when they desire a service. In addition, the uniform that they wear includes a cover head apparel; cap and bandana and also apron. These actually contributes to the safety and quality in terms of cleanliness of the product overall. Other than that, with great team work, they will be able to divide a quality work shifts. Consequently, leads to optimal services possible and guarantees customer satisfactions which are what a quality service is all about.
In conclusion, the main reasons why ‘mamak’ restaurant are successful in Malaysia are variety food and drinks available, simple, halal or clean food with satisfactory taste and presentation from product-based point of view while high availability and high team work from service-based point of view as explained above. As a result, ‘mamak’ restaurant have become a norm in Malaysian’s life and can also be considered as one of our cultures.