Restaurants celebrate shorter curfew, longer dining hours
Restaurant chains and shopping centres are welcoming the extended service hours and relaxed curfew announced by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).
Natalie Phanphensophon, chief operating officer of Coca Holding International Co, a legacy suki restaurant in Thailand, said the relaxed curfew measures will have a positive impact on the restaurant business because the curfew is an important factor in consumer decisions to visit such places.
"Our restaurant takes final food orders until 7pm now, which is usually a peak time for our business. After the curfew has been shortened and the country reopens early next month, more people will go out regularly. This is reflected by rising traffic at our restaurants, which are close to returning to normal levels," said Ms Natalie.
"The shortening of the curfew also eases the difficulty of commuting back home for our staff. We have high hopes we will see a more active atmosphere in Thailand's restaurant business."
The CCSA approved on Thursday reducing the number of dark red provinces under maximum and strict control measures to 23, with the nighttime curfew shortened by two hours, changing to 11pm to 3am starting today.
The goal is to prepare for the country's reopening next month.
Boonyong Tansakul, chief executive of Zen Corp, agreed a shorter curfew should make the restaurant market more active in the final two months this year.
"We've seen improving customer traffic momentum since early September and expect better sentiment in the last two months this year," said Mr Boonyong.
"The government's latest decision comes at the right time because the consumer mood is improving after more people are inoculated, as indicated by a gradual closure of field hospitals. This helps boost consumer confidence to spend more time outside of the home."
Kreetakorn Siriatha, group chief financial officer of Minor Food Group, said a shorter curfew will have a huge impact on the restaurant business.
"When there is a curfew, many people stay home rather than go to malls," he said.
"With the relaxed curfew measures, we believe it will help boost sales by 10% because 60% of sales come from activities in the evening, while 40% are at lunchtime."
Yol Phokasub, president of the Thai Retailers Association (TRA), said the TRA and Thai Shopping Centre Association are ready to abide by the measures for Covid-19 infection prevention and control, in preparation for the country's reopening.
He said the two associations are committed to tight safety measures for their staff, related parties, and consumers entering shopping complexes.
The TRA said department stores, shopping complexes, supermarkets, restaurants, shops, and hypermarkets both in malls and outside them will be open until 10pm.
Convenience stores and fresh markets will be open from 4am to 10pm.
The TRA suggested the government revive the economy with economic stimulus campaigns to boost local consumption during the high season for sales.
The Shop Dee Mee Kuen campaign is expected to relaunch to stimulate spending, said the association in a statement.