Restaurants see year-end surge in bookings
While Covid-19 might have dented the food and beverage (F&B) industry last year, eateries enjoyed a burst of activity last month, with more bookings made compared with a year ago before the pandemic struck.
F&B players said it reflects a recovery in consumer confidence and is likely a result of Covid-19 affecting year-end plans, including travel.
This comes as the first weekend of phase three, which began last Monday, allowed people to eat out in groups of up to eight instead of five previously.
Official figures for last month are not available yet, but online dining booking site Chope Singapore said reservations jumped 41 per cent last month from a year ago.
It follows from a trend the site began seeing from September until year-end in which last year's bookings began to exceed 2019 reservations. Bookings also rose 36 per cent on average from September to last month.
Chope's general manager Jean Wee said this happened at a time when people were looking forward to year-end festivities.
Eatery operators said pandemic travel curbs could have driven some customers to their outlets.
Si Chuan Dou Hua restaurants' director of restaurants, bars and events Linda Loke said 70 per cent of its eateries were full last month.
"Bookings this year seem to be faster than the last, and bookings have been made earlier. This is probably due to the fact that people are not going to be travelling as much," she added.
Several restaurants are also seeing Chinese New Year (CNY) reservations streaming in.
Si Chuan Dou Hua said 70 per cent of its restaurants are full for CNY next month.
Goodwood Park Hotel said its Min Jiang restaurants at the hotel and Dempsey are almost fully booked on CNY Eve.
Reservations are also coming in quickly for the first two days of CNY.
For private hire driver Adrian Ang, 38, not being able to go abroad meant that his family celebrated his father's 70th birthday at a restaurant to "have a nice, grand meal together".
"Since it's a birthday celebration, I waited for Singapore to enter phase three so we could have eight people at the table," he said. - THE STRAITS TIMES