Coronavirus: Singapore

Diners rush to alter Mother's Day plans ahead of new rules

Some move up reservation to tomorrow, others opt for takeaway

Restaurant manager Ken Lim packing a takeaway/delivery order at Yun Nans eatery at Westgate mall yesterday. The restaurant has seen an increase of 10 per cent for pre-orders of its Mother's Day set menu for delivery and takeaway.
Restaurant manager Ken Lim packing a takeaway/delivery order at Yun Nans eatery at Westgate mall yesterday. The restaurant has seen an increase of 10 per cent for pre-orders of its Mother's Day set menu for delivery and takeaway.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

It has been a mad scramble for food and beverage (F&B) establishments as they help diners make alternative arrangements for Mother's Day bookings this weekend, when the new limit of five people at a social gathering, announced on Tuesday, kicks in.

Businesses have been inundated with calls to bring reservations forward to tomorrow, reduce dining party sizes or cancel bookings altogether.

Some diners have requested to split bookings for larger groups over a few days, while others want to shift reservations to next month.

Many are opting for takeaway or delivery, and restaurants are bracing themselves for a surge in orders.

Mr Reuben Chua, 36, chief operating officer of Chinese restaurant Yun Nans, has seen an increase of 10 per cent for pre-orders of its Mother's Day set menu for delivery and takeaway.

He added that all three outlets - at Jewel Changi Airport, Westgate and Nex - are 80 per cent to 90 per cent full for the Mother's Day weekend, and there have been requests from 10 per cent of its existing bookings to dine by tomorrow instead.

At the National Gallery Singapore, Cantonese restaurant Yan has extended its delivery services for an extra day - till Sunday - to cater to larger families who are unable to dine out. Since the new measures were announced, Yan's general manager Shek Chi Kuen, 57, has received five orders for takeaway.

He has also hired part-time staff as additional support for the weekend, which is fully booked.

Also expecting a surge in deliveries is Ms Joy Chen, 38, business partner of seafood restaurant Holy Crab at the Arcade @ The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore.

She ordered more takeaway packaging yesterday and has advised diners to make pre-orders for the seafood, in anticipation of a drop in dine-in business.

She says: "We are not overcommitting ourselves to bookings or deliveries and are trying to manage guests' expectations in terms of seating capacity, delivery delays and surge in delivery pricing."

Similarly, Japanese restaurant Fat Cow at Camden Medical Centre is expecting more delivery orders to roll in. Ms Betty Tan, group head of marketing and consumer growth for F&B company Commonwealth Concepts, which runs Fat Cow, is capping the number of delivery orders it accepts to ensure that food is delivered properly.

Si Chuan Dou Hua's restaurants have prioritised delivery since last year's circuit breaker. Its three outlets offer three menus each that run for a month, compared with one delivery menu available for one week last year.

Ms Linda Loke, Si Chuan Dou Hua's director of restaurants, bar and events, said: "We have noticed that families might have to work out several dates to eat together.

"Before the announcement, we already foresaw a stronger demand for delivery this year, as families might want to stay at home more and keep out of the crowds.

"We also have quite a number of bookings beyond Mother's Day that require diners to re-address the number of people dining in."

The majority of callers so far have requested to bring forward their dining dates to before Saturday and bookings for Father's Day have also started streaming in, she added.

Since last weekend, the Restaurant Association of Singapore has reached out to its members to hold back on promotions over the next two weeks.

Its spokesman said: "Many members will need to accommodate adjustments to some of the reservations that have already been made, especially for the upcoming three festivities - Mother's Day, Hari Raya Puasa and Vesak Day.

"We appeal to all F&B operators and customers alike to support these latest measures."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 06, 2021, with the headline 'Diners rush to alter Mother's Day plans ahead of new rules'. Subscribe