Hong Kong, Sep 29 (IANS) Food deliveries have seen a sharp increase across Hong Kong as people preferred to stay at their homes due to the ongoing protests and civil unrest that has disrupted the city on weekends and discouraged people from going out to eat, a media report said on Sunday.
Restaurateurs, credit card providers and food delivery companies said that they have seen a sharp rise in people ordering in as intensifying clashes between demonstrators and police have led to blocked roads, closed metro stations and early closures of shopping centres for 16 straight weekends since the anti-government protests first erupted in June due to the now-shelved extradition bill, the South China Morning Post reported.
But the agitations have now expanded to other issues, including income inequality and a lack of affordable housing in the city.
Food delivery apps Deliveroo and FoodPanda both said that they have been growing in Hong Kong and had an increase in order volumes between June and September of this year, with weekend nights being the peak time for orders.
Neither company specified how large an increase, but Deliveroo said that it had double-digit growth in Hong Kong every month since it debuted in 2015.
Both companies said that they are taking precautions to ensure the safety of their delivery riders, customers and restaurants.
Ricky Lai, Chief Executive of FWM Restaurants, is doing something he has never done before at the company’s ‘The Butchers Club’ locations in Hong Kong.
The restaurant chain, which sells traditional burgers, as well as vegan offerings, has seen its overall sales volumes decline by double digits.
“We’re doing all the things we should. We’ve started price promotions. If people are not coming out, there’s only so much we can do,” Lai said.
“We will offer a burger ‘buy one get one free’, which we have never done. We just want people to come out. Life should go on. Whatever your political view, I always joke that nothing cannot be solved over a tasty burger and a beer.”
According to Hong Kong’s Census and Statistics Department, restaurant receipts declined 0.4 per cent to an estimated HK$28.7 billion ($3 billion) in the second quarter from the same period a year earlier.
That came as purchases by restaurants – a measure of operating costs – increased 0.8 per cent in the quarter.
Fast food outlets were one of the few eating establishments to see an increase in receipts in the second quarter, while restaurants and bars all reported value and volume declines in the quarter ended June 30.