Business boom for Hong Kong restaurants and malls over Easter holiday

Business boom for Hong Kong restaurants and malls during Easter holiday

Consumption vouchers help fuel soaring prices

Thousands of shoppers were seen in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong on Sunday. (Photo: South China Morning Post)

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s restaurant and retail sectors reported a double-digit increase in business over the Easter holiday, despite social distancing curbs stunting some of their growth, according to reports industry professionals.

The business boom was also fueled by the government handing out the first half of HK$10,000 (43,000 baht) in consumer vouchers earlier this month, with residents grabbing goods such as electronics and high-end groceries.

Industry professionals have estimated that activity in the restaurant sector increased by 20% during the four-day Easter holiday, as more people dined out, while footfall in some shopping malls Doubled.

“We see a lot of people going out, especially in shopping malls and other tourist areas such as Sai Kung,” said Simon Wong Ka-wo, chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Allied Trades.

“A lot of people are lining up to get into restaurants and business has increased to some extent. But we still can’t operate past 6 p.m. and a limit of two people per table is still hampering our growth,” he said. he added, referring to the current social situation. distancing borders.

Ahead of the easing of Covid-19 restrictions on Thursday, Wong noted that restaurants had started sourcing ingredients from suppliers and hiring more workers to cope with an expected surge in customer numbers.

“Last year, business suddenly rebounded and we were taken by surprise. Many food suppliers were unable to provide enough materials, so this is something we have to be prepared for” , Wong said.

The first phase of relaxed measures will allow an extension of catering services in restaurants from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., with up to four people per table.

Gyms, beauty and massage parlors, cinemas, game centers, theme parks and places of worship will also be allowed to reopen.

But not all restaurant groups benefited from an increase in traffic during the break.

“People have already spent their food stamps and bought what they needed. The two-person-per-table limit also made it more difficult,” said Mike Chan Kok-chu, director of the Happiness Group, which runs five restaurants and employs approximately 1,000 people. .

Still, he added that he hoped for a 20-30% increase in the number of people dining in his restaurants after the restrictions were relaxed, as his company had planned fixed meal deals for the entry into force of the limit. of four people.

Peter Shiu Ka-fai, a lawmaker representing the retail sector, said there was a surge in the number of people leaving during the Easter holiday as consumer vouchers prompted them to spend more on different stores.

The increase in the number of people on the move was quite noticeable as most residents had stayed at home during the outbreak, he added.

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