HK FB Industry hard hit by Protests. Li Ka Shing offers grants to assist. But can it help to soothe the pain? How months of protests have devastated the restaurant business?
HK FB industry is still bleeding after months of protests. Li Ka Shing Foundation has offered a fund to assist HK F&B industry earlier this month. As we know, almost all operators who are eligible to apply have already submitted their applications. The deadline of application was due yesterday.
According to this fund arrangement, around 3,333 F&B operators in Hong Kong can get the grant. But the total applications have already exceeded 10,000, which is three time more. As a result, Li Ka Shing Foundation will cast lots on 26 Nov 2019 to confirm the lucky ones.
To be frank, when those eligible to apply the fund might feel little relief when Li Ka Shing Foundation announced the grant of HK$60,000 to each qualified licenced eatery. However, the chance of getting the grant is 1/3 only. How disappointed for those who cannot get it!
How Months of Protests hit HK FB Industry
We have witnessed the impact on every walk of life while the protests has continued for more than 5 months. The situation has become worse than before. Let’s find out how months of protests have adversely affected FB industry in Hong Kong:
1) Transport is disrupted or terminated early
First and foremost, MTR, the major transport means in Hong Kong, has started to stop the service early at 10:00pm for more than one month. Undoubtedly, we understand how serious the damage of some of the infrastructure of MTR by the protesters.
Nevertheless, dinner service is hard hit by this transport arrangement. Many people would have to cancel their dinner appointments or finish early for dinner. Restaurant and bar business are adversely affected.
2) Unexpected violence on streets
Restaurants, shops and banks have to close in sudden whenever protests and violence are expected to occur. As well as that, office people have to leave office earlier due to these unexpected events.
At this time, customers cancel their dinner appointments. Instead, they rush back home for safety and get no mood to eating out at all.
3) Drastic decline of tourists
Since July, many countries have issued Hong Kong travel alert warning citizens of violence. The alert by Australia urges caution over a risk of violence confrontation between protesters and police, or criminally linked individuals.
Likewise, USA, Britain, Ireland and Singapore have all issued similar travel warnings. Subsequently, F&B industry has lost a large number of overseas customers – both tourists and corporate visitors.
4) Restaurants with political sides
With anti-government protests getting worse, Hong Kong restaurants, shops and banks have been caught between anti-government protestors and those who support the government and police.
Ironically, Hong Kong has not only got a Michelin guide, but also an unofficial guide of restaurants branded “yellow” if they support protests, “blue” if they support the government.
Maxim’s Caterers, the biggest F&B group in Hong Kong, has suffered most in the protests. More than 70 outlets have temporarily stopped operations after their premises were destroyed by the protestors.
4) Local people stay at home instead of eating out
While the city is full of violence and hatred amid the ongoing anti-government protests, Hong Kong people feel safer to stay at home instead of going out. Dining out with friends and family are substantially less.
What’s Next to HK FB Industry?
Meanwhile, protesters have started to use more dangerous weapons in their fight against the police and government. In last week, university campuses became the centers of confrontation. Main tunnels and key roads connecting Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories were also blocked.
Subsequently, some people could not get means of transport to office and working places. Finally, all schools, some shops and restaurants cannot open as usual. We can imagine how the city was devastated by the protests.
How can Hong Kong walk out from the current difficulties?