Prolonged HK Protests have adversely affected retail and FB industries. Fine Dining Restaurants started to feel the pain from more booking cancellations
HK protests have no sign to end yet. Industries such as hotel, retail as well as food and beverage have already felt the pain. Among all, fine dining restaurants have got increasing booking cancellation by tourists and overseas corporates.
Hong Kong is a food paradise with 63 starred restaurants including 1 star, 2 stars and 3 stars Michelin. About 75% of the starred restaurants are located in Central, Wan Chai and Tsim Sha Tsui.
Unfortunately, these expensive restaurants are so happened situated in the frequent protest districts. Their operations have been badly hurt by unexpected closures and transport disruption during protests. Furthermore, less tourists, business customers and local diners have hit fine fine dining restaurants in Hong Kong.
How are Fining Restaurants affected by Protests HK?
While we are perplexed about the way out of the whole city from protests, restaurant operators are facing hard time from more booking cancellations.
Booking cancellations by tourists
Hong Kong is one of the best and safest cities to travel in Asia. It’s also a food paradise in the world. However, the city has been changed over the recent months.
A number of countries have issued Hong Kong travel alerts to warn citizens a risk of violent confrontation between protesters and police.
According to HKTB, tourists to Hong Kong were dropped by 4.8% in July 2019 as compared with July 2018. Further worse, the number of tourist arrivals was sharply down 40% by month in August.
As told by a number of restaurant operators, many tourists have cancelled their bookings as they cancelled or postponed the travelling plan to Hong Kong.
Booking cancellations by overseas corporates
Hong Kong is recognized by world’s premier destination for meetings, conventions and exhibitions. We have a number of events, trade fairs and exhibitions hosted in Hong Kong.
Corporates usually arrange business dinners during conference days in fine dining restaurants. Sometimes, they book the whole restaurant for few nights.
Overall spending by corporate customers on food and wines are comparatively higher than walk-in customers.
As told by a Michelin-starred restaurant in Central, they have got several corporate booking cancellations in October and November. These customers have changed their meeting venues from Hong Kong to Vietnam or Singapore.
Less local diners
The pain of protests has spreaded over to all citizens in Hong Kong, no matter we are wealthy or not. The unexpected traffic disruptions on major roads and public transport have affected our plans to dine out. We have no moods to dine out too!
Hong Kong people are used to eating out regularly. Some local diners like to spare their weekends to try different restaurants. Fine dining restaurants can have promising sales from local customers.
However, recent protests have already changed local dining pattern especially in weekends. We would not prefer to dine out late. Also, more people dine out nearby home in order to stay away from the protest districts, where most fine dining restaurants are located.
Any Way Out for Fine Dining Restaurants?
Fine dining is more than quality food, it’s a dining experience in the restaurant. How to attract more high-spending customers to dine in when the protests have no signs to stop yet?
What should Hong Kong restaurants do during the protest time? Some restaurants organised joint food events for more business. Some provide special food & drink offers to attract local diners.
However, the challenges by high-end restaurants are far more than other F&B operators. As their operational costs are comparatively higher. In addition, they are more rigid to lower the costs and reduce the price.
Perhaps targeting more on local corporates and diners might be one of the ways out for fine dining restaurants.
Hope the turmoil in Hong Kong will end soon!