At Manila Restaurant Week, businesses look for shot in the arm amid coronavirus

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 15 2020 11:25 PM

MANILA--Discounts and special menus are on tap in at least 88 food establishments during Manila Restaurant Week to be held September 20 to 27, an effort to boost businesses amid lower revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno assured the public that participating restaurants will observe minimum health protocols and reminded them to do the same.

“This is our own little way to help businesses to survive,” he said during Tuesday’s event launch.

“Marami nang nagsarang negosyo, marami nang nawalan ng trabaho. So whatever is left should be protected.”

Moreno said he is confident both restaurant owners and customers have "already enough knowledge" to observe COVID-19 policies during the event,.

“This is deadly disease, but pwedeng maiwasan,” he said.

Moreno said city government will consider shortening curfew hours for adult customers during the week-long food festival.


Some restaurants have said the pandemic hit revenues hard, and even with 50 percent dine-in capacity customers remain scarce. 

A restaurant in Intramuros said Christmas parties used to raise revenues during the last quarter of the year, but it expected this year to be different.

“Ang event kasi namin, mababa po sa amin iyong 100 persons. Nagkakaroon kami ng 6,000 persons sa ganyan. Ganoon iyong number of person na inaasahan namin. For now, dahil hindi talaga allowed iyong ganitong gathering, kaya malaking epekto siya,” Ilustrado sales representative Ica Asuncion told ABS-CBN News.

Another restaurant located near University of Santo Tomas said it expected less exciting "Ber" months this year, due to physical distancing policies and online classes.

“From the summer, it (sales) can go up to double kapag BER months, kasi marami events si UST. Even for Christmas, mayroon siyang student activities. This year is really challenging for us,” said Scorched owner Lenny Kao.

Businesses expressed hope the Manila Restaurant Week will help attract more customers.

“Gumawa tayo ng special set menu for the restaurant week,” Asuncion said.

Kao added: “We’re introducing a 20 percent discount for all of the buyers, for the Manila Restaurant Week,” .

Manila Bureau of Permits Chief Levi Facundo said Grab will also offer free delivery to those who will avail the minimum purchase amount in participating restaurants.