Coronavirus: Singapore

Restaurants see surge in bookings before resumption of dining-in ban

Diners outside Good Luck Beerhouse at Haji Lane yesterday before new restrictions kick in today. The bar offered a whole-day Happy Hour yesterday with a 15 to 20 per cent discount for its draft beers and tap cocktails.
Diners outside Good Luck Beerhouse at Haji Lane yesterday before new restrictions kick in today. The bar offered a whole-day Happy Hour yesterday with a 15 to 20 per cent discount for its draft beers and tap cocktails.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Food and beverage operators saw a surge of last-minute bookings after Tuesday's announcement that dining in is no longer allowed from today to Aug 18 under Covid-19 phase two (heightened alert) rules.

Clan 7, a Chinese restaurant in Lorong Chuan by SF Group, is among those that received an influx of reservations for yesterday. Mr Collin Ho, its chief executive, said that by 2pm, the restaurant was 70 per cent full for the day, and it was expected to pick up further before dinnertime.

Three-Michelin-starred French restaurant Les Amis started getting calls on Tuesday requesting tables for that evening and yesterday, mainly from diners trying to move forward their cancelled bookings. However, the restaurant was already full for both days.

Another Western fine-dining restaurant Zen, which offers lunch only on Fridays and Saturdays, opened up bookings for lunch yesterday instead, and all 20 seats were taken up.

Its general manager and beverage director Aaron Jacobson said yesterday: "At 5pm yesterday, there was no booking, but the tables were completely filled by 9pm. None was from diners who moved their reservations from Friday and Saturday."

He added: "We decided to add the Wednesday lunch service because the new impositions by the Government are disproportionately hard for fine-dining restaurants, as we are not geared for food to go. So we thought, let's add one more service while we can for our guests. We can also generate revenue to pay our staff at the end of the month."

Good Luck Beerhouse in Haji Lane, which serves local dishes like fried Hokkien mee and rendang burgers, offered a whole-day Happy Hour yesterday with a 15 to 20 per cent discount for its draft beers and tap cocktails.

Its spokesman said that it had received some reservations but not a tremendous spike. She added: "We get mostly walk-ins and our busy period is 7pm, so we are not sure how it will be tonight."

Some diners who made last-minute bookings said they were not worried about going out despite the spike in Covid-19 infections.

Mr Billy Ong, 41, who is self-employed, said he made a reservation at a Korean BBQ restaurant for lunch yesterday because he wanted to enjoy it one last time before going into phase two (heightened alert).

He added: "Especially for BBQ, you have to eat it at a restaurant because the quality and taste will be so much different when you order for takeaway."

Teacher Joey Inez, 20, also decided to dine out one last time yesterday at Ce La Vi in Marina Bay Sands. She said: "My anniversary with my boyfriend is tomorrow, July 22, but due to the new regulations, we changed it to today."

She added: "I do feel a little worried with the spike in cases. But because my boyfriend and I are fully vaccinated, I am a bit more reassured."

Wong Ah Yoke, Sueanne Phee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2021, with the headline 'Restaurants see surge in bookings before resumption of dining-in ban'. Subscribe