Food businesses score big win with World Cup

Some see sales increase by up to 40%, with favourable timing of matches playing big role

Croatia fans watching the World Cup final at a bar in Boat Quay. This year, 38 of the 64 matches during the month-long tournament were shown before midnight.
Croatia fans watching the World Cup final at a bar in Boat Quay. This year, 38 of the 64 matches during the month-long tournament were shown before midnight.PHOTO: LIN ZHAOWEI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Les Bleus emerged victorious early yesterday morning, winning the 2018 Fifa World Cup in style against Croatia in the final match played in Moscow. But France was not the only winner from the tournament.

Businesses in Singapore scored too, with food and beverage establishments in particular enjoying robust increases in sales during the month-long football festival.

The favourable timing of the matches played a significant role. This year, 38 of the 64 matches were shown before midnight, the most since the 2002 World Cup co-hosted by Japan and South Korea.

It also helped that this year's games was a veritable goal fest, giving people much to cheer for. A total of 169 goals were scored in 64 matches, an average of 2.64 goals per match.

Sales at Bar Bar Black Sheep, which held World Cup screenings at two of its outlets in Cluny Courtyard and Cherry Avenue, and at Muddy Murphy's and The Penny Black, a popular sports bar chain, were up 20 per cent.

Football-themed restaurant Cafe Football Singapore in Woodleigh Park saw an increase of 40 per cent in sales. For the final, up to 300 people had thronged the cafe, twice the usual crowd for earlier matches.

Director of Bar Bar Black Sheep Reuben Tan said: "The June to July period is usually quiet every year because most of our customers are expats and would be away for their summer holidays. So, the World Cup definitely boosted our sales."

Food delivery businesses also benefited. Deliveroo Singapore general manager Siddharth Shanker said it experienced a 30 per cent increase in total demand over the World Cup period. "Having the World Cup air at more favourable timings for Singaporeans to tune in did benefit those in the F&B business."

A Grab spokesman told ST that food delivery orders on GrabFood after 8pm increased by close to 40 per cent, with the most significant increase coming the hour before kick-off and at the start of a match.


Foodpanda Singapore's managing director Luc Andreani said the total increase of late-night orders - those after 11pm - was almost 20 per cent, while there was a 40 per cent increase in orders compared with a regular day. "Late-night delivery options can be an attractive option for our vendors as they can keep overhead costs down to a minimum, by keeping the kitchen open but not having to employ any service staff, helping them to stay profitable."

Meanwhile, a record number of residents - close to 600,000 - watched the screenings organised by the People's Association (PA) across 57 locations islandwide. In 2014, 570,000 people attended the screenings around Singapore.

A PA spokesman said: "We are heartened to see how sports brings people together as football fans gather every week to cheer their favourite teams on."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2018, with the headline 'Food businesses score big win with World Cup'. Print Edition | Subscribe