Restaurants are expecting more business on Mother’s Day on Sunday, now that they are allowed to seat more people at each table.
Eateries whose staff are vaccinated with first jabs and customers use the LeaveHomeSafe app are allowed to operate in model C, meaning as of last Thursday, they can designate an area to seat up to six people per table. They can also provide dine-in services until midnight.
There has been an enthusiastic response for six-person tables this Sunday, a Chinese restaurant operator in Tsim Sha Tsui said.
Owner Chan Keung said he has designated half of his restaurant as zone C, while the other half remains as zone B, with only four to a table allowed and the dine-in service ends at 10pm.
He said quite a number of customers have booked zone C tables, which he expects will increase patronage by 20 to 30 percent from last year.
Chan said if there is a great demand on Mother’s Day, the restaurant may make the whole place zone C.
He also said extending the service to midnight allows restaurants to have two rounds of customers for dinner.
But Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades president Simon Wong Ka-wo said business this Mother’s Day will only be about 70 percent compared to last year, as only 400 of 18,000 eateries in the city can operate in zone C in time for Sunday.
“But we can wait two more days to see whether more staff will be taking the jab, as many big Chinese restaurants would like to have two rounds and six people per table on Mother’s Day,” he said.
Wong said reservation rates for Mother’s Day are at about 50 percent right now, while some restaurants with regular customers have a rate of 70 to 80 percent.
He said many restaurants are facing difficulties fulfilling the government’s requirements for model C, as they can only encourage staff to get vaccinated and need to provide site maps to show the different zones of the restaurants.
“Many small and medium sized restaurants decided to open until 10pm as they cannot have tables for six,” Wong said.
He said some restaurants have decided to start dinner earlier at 6.30pm so they can have one more round of customers.
Wong also said some people will celebrate Mother’s Day at home or get staycation packages at hotels.
The manager of London Restaurant in Mong Kok, So, said the restaurant will only operate in model B mode on Mother’s Day as many of the employees are more senior and may not be suitable for the vaccine.
So said the restaurant has yet to receive many reservations for the day.
So said turnover last year’s Mother Day dropped by half compared to usual Mother’s Days in years before the pandemic, but this year, he expects businesses will further drop to 25 percent of normal years.