A big Bangkok seafood restaurant is selling off all its cooking utensils, plates, glasses, tables and chairs. Reason?
Its owner has decided to shut it down before skyrocketing oil prices ruin his whole life.
"I must get out of this business now or else I may lose everything," Somsak Sripetch, 37, said yesterday.
Nice Thai house
Yaowaraj restaurant in Kae Rai was once so popular. Sitting in a vast, nice traditional Thai house, it had more than 100 tables and could seat up to 500 diners. Despite huge capacity, the restaurant was often so packed that some customers could not get in.
"I had to apologise and ask them to come back next time," Somsak said. "But that is now a thing of the past."
Today, the businessman hopes to sell everything in the restaurant, including the lovely house. His offer to sell at Bt12 million has attracted many people, including a senior military officer who has already started discussing the deal.
Somsak said the restaurant used to give him a monthly profit of between Bt200,000 and Bt300,000.
However, things have changed since the petrol price started rising. Over the past six months, his restaurant has lost Bt30,000 each month.
"The rising petrol price means fewer customers are coming to my restaurant. They have to tighten their belts," Somsak said.
The deciding factors
"At the same time, my costs are rising. To get fresh seafood from a seaside town, I sent my own pickups and thus shouldered higher petrol bills. When fishermen pay more for petrol, I have to buy fish and crabs at a higher price."
According to him, a kilogram of horse crabs used to cost between Bt200 and Bt300 nearly two years ago. Now each kilo costs about Bt500.
"All seafood items are getting more expensive and I don't know when the price will stop going up," Somsak complained.
In the face of rising living costs, his workers also asked for pay rises.
"So when a litre of diesel was touching Bt40, I began seriously pondering how to take care of my business. Finally, I have decided to call it quits," Somsak said.
If he sells everything now, he believes he has a good chance of clearing his debts and earning some cash for his future.