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Business / Local takeaway cuts opening hours to save on bills

Photo: Tasty Hong Kong

A LERWICK takeaway is temporarily reducing its opening hours after seeing its price of electricity double while the cost of food rises.

Tasty Hong Kong will be open an hour less a day from next Tuesday onwards (20 September) in the hope of cutting down on its bills.

Natalie Law, who runs the business with partner Ivan Shek, said the energy price increase was “shocking” for a small business as winter approaches.

“One hour less means we’re using less electricity, and the cooker and the fire and heating,” she said.

Law added that they have already disconnected two of their four freezers to cut down on bills, while they have changed to more efficient lighting.

The couple were told by supplier Bulb that on 9 September the business electricity unit rate per kWh would rise from 33.139p to 69.261p, excluding VAT, to reflect increased wholesale costs.

The daily standing charge was not affected.

Ivan and Natalie.

Law said when notification came through of the price increase she looked into changing supplier, but this did not ultimately bear fruit.

She said one company for instance was offering a cheaper standing charge but a greatly increased unit rate, and another was not able to supply a Shetland business – while Law claimed one was a “scam”.

The couple are not on a fixed contract so can switch at any time.

The business owners also said the cost of imported ingredients has risen “dramatically” – with vegetable oil up 200 per cent and chicken and duck around 50 per cent.

And Law highlighted that operating in Shetland comes with extra cost anyway, in areas such as transport for supplies.

“We already pay a lot higher for everything,” she said.

She said the business wanted to continue using its quality ingredients nor reduce the portion sizes it is known for, so altering the opening hours was the next step before the last resort of putting prices up for customers.

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New prime minster Liz Truss recently announced a plan to offer a six-month support scheme for businesses for their electricity costs, alongside a reduced price cap for domestic users.

“They tell us they will be helping us…we don’t know what help they’re offering,” Law said.

“Before they offer help we need to think about a way to help ourself first, and this is what we’ve thought.”

It comes after a local wholesaler and the schools catering service spoke of their recent increase in costs.

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