Restaurants aim to fatten up on discount offers

Top News | Jasmine Ling 9 Jul 2020

More than 1,000 restaurants will press ahead with a hefty discount promotion to lure customers despite calls to tighten controls over food establishments amid a surge in virus cases.

Catering sector legislator Tommy Cheung Yu-yan announced details yesterday on a promotion aimed at serving up a HK$35 million revenue boost to the sector.

Restaurants taking part in the promotion involving seven associations and the Hong Kong Tourism Board will offer 30 percent discounts on dinner starting on Wednesday and 20 percent discounts next month.

Several fast-food chains, including Pizza Hut, McDonald's and Yoshinoya, have also joined the table to provide discounts on either an overall bill or a set menu.

Upmarket Star Seafood Restaurant will offer a lobster and coral trout 12-person set meal at a discount, while Beijing cuisine eatery Jin Gong Guan in Eastern and Sai Kung districts will halve the price of its Peking duck signature dish.

Cheung, an Executive Council member and chairman of the Liberal Party, urged people to dip into their HK$10,000 government handouts to eat out and help the catering sector recover from lean times. As of Monday, 3.15 million permanent residents received the handout money in their bank accounts.

Details of the discount program will be available on www.diningdiscount.hk.

But health authorities are considering a return to social-distancing rules on restaurants.

For six of 24 new cases confirmed since yesterday have again been linked to two eateries in Choi Hung and Jordan.

David Hui Shu-cheong, a respiratory expert advising the government, said authorities should consider a limit of six to eight diners per table.

And microbiologist Ho Pak-leung of the University of Hong Kong recommended a four-person cap at a table and halving the seating capacity in eateries.

Cheung responded by saying the catering sector was prepared to go along with a tightening of the rules.

But he added: "It is important the government strikes a balance between containing the virus and sustaining the economy and I think it has been doing this well in the past few months."

Restrictions on the sector were lifted last month with eateries allowed to operate at full capacity if they comply with infection control measures such as keeping tables 1.5 meters apart and checking the temperatures of customers.

jasmine.ling@singtaonewscorp.com

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