Experimental hawker business Kampung @ Simpang Bedok closes down, burns $1 million

Several factors contributed to the hawker centre's closure.

By Belmont Lay | December 1, 2013

What: Kampung @ Simpang Bedok, one of Singapore’s first social enterprise hawker centres, has closed down after a year of operations.

It opened from last October and closed on Oct. 31 this year.

After its official opening in February, business went downhill by April.

The 32-stall hawker centre opened to much fanfare and was an experiment into how new hawker centres could be run.


Who: Social enterprise Best Of Asia managed the hawker centre. It is a group set up by 12 people, who are finance executives, consultants and construction industry business owners.

Best Of Asia said it spent $500,000 to set up the place and another $500,000 to run it. The losses chalked up stands at $1 million.


Where: The privately-run hawker centre is located at Bedok Market Place at Block 348 Bedok Road.

The landlord of Bedok Market Place is Far East Organization, who leases out the ground floor space to Giant supermarket.


How: Kampung was supposed to help the food businesses grow. Vendors were given options such as being paid a salary, either with or without profit-sharing schemes, until vendors could afford to pay rent.

Some vendors paid full rental of about $3,000, while others paid subsidised rentals.

Ex-drug addicts, ex-convicts and the disabled were employed to work there.


Why: Several factors colluded to cause Kampung’s failure as an experiment.

1. The hawker centre was located on the second floor and could only be accessed by stairs.

2. The place was frequently dirty as cleaners hired were not professionals.

3. A lack of funding meant a lack of financial muscle to soldier on for a longer period. Best Of Asia said about $12,000 to $15,000 was spent to maintain exhausts and cleaning grease tracks at the hawker centre a month.

4. The quality of food was uneven.


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About Belmont Lay

Belmont can pronounce "tchotchke".

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