12th February 2024 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong’s dining establishments have reported a surge in patronage over the Lunar New Year holidays, buoyed by local festive events and a decline in cross-border travel for dining. Nevertheless, amidst this uptick, concerns over the economic climate have prompted Ray Chui, president of the Institute of Dining Art and head of Kam Kee Holdings managing 42 restaurants, to announce the forthcoming closure of eight outlets this year, citing the uncertain economic outlook.
Chui’s experience contrasts with the overall positive reports, as his group’s business saw a 10 per cent decline from the previous year. He attributes this to changing consumer habits post-COVID, a weakened economy, and the popular choice of travelling north or abroad during the holidays. As a result, he anticipates a less vibrant start to
Meanwhile, Chairman Michael Leung of the Association for Hong Kong Catering Services Management has observed a particularly bountiful period for Chinese restaurants, which have seen a full house following a flurry of last-minute bookings. Initially, the industry braced for a moderate celebration, with bookings hovering around 70 to 80 per cent capacity, but the subsequent surge has propelled businesses to near-pre-pandemic activity, with current levels at about 95 per cent.
Despite the industry raising prices by up to 10 per cent to offset increasing costs, the average expenditure per diner has risen, climbing to HK$300 for dinner and HK$450 for banquets. Leung attributes this business windfall partly to the decrease in Hong Kong residents travelling to the Mainland for shopping and dining, pointing out that family travel logistics and potential congestion at border points may have deterred cross-border excursions.