The owner of Kai Kai Dessert in Jordan was pleased when the latest Michelin Guide recommended the store, which serves traditional Chinese desserts, as one of the places to go for good street food in Hong Kong.
His happiness was short-lived.
The landlord of the store in Parkes Street gave notice that when the lease comes up for renewal next year, he will raise the rent to HK$220,000 (US$28,400) per month from HK$100,000, Metro Daily reported Tuesday.
Chiu Wing-ken, 27, the second-generation owner of Kai Kai Dessert, was stunned by the 120 percent increase.
“We would have to sell 11,578 bowls of dessert just to cover the rent,” Chiu said.
Fortunately, an old customer helped Chiu to obtain a lease on a store in Ning Po Street in Yau Ma Tei for HK$90,000 a month.
Kai Kai Dessert posted a notice recently saying the landlord plans to increase the rent to an unbelievable level, so it decided to move to Ning Po Street in March to continue the business.
Chiu said the sharp rise in the rent may be related to the Michelin recommendation.
“Michelin is a double-edged sword,” he said.
“On one hand, more people will know about us.
“On the other hand, it would be ironic if customers can’t find us at the address published in the guide.”
Chiu’s father, 52, founded Kai Kai.
He suffers from diabetes and was so worried when he heard about the rent increase that he couldn’t sleep.
Chiu wanted to give up and shut down the store, but he didn’t want to disappoint his father, so he started searching for a new location.
The new store in Yau Ma Tei will be one-third smaller than the existing one, but the rent will be affordable.
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