HCMC restaurants reopen with caution

By Tat Dat, Vien Thong   October 28, 2021 | 03:15 am PT
HCMC restaurants reopen with caution
Staff prepare orders for deliveries at a bubble tea shop in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dat
HCMC restaurants and coffee shops are resuming on-site dining with caution due to concerns of staff contracting Covid-19 and post-social-distancing tightened spending.

Starting Thursday, over 20 outlets of bubble tea chain Gong Cha started resuming on-site services after five months of suspension.

As the city allows food and beverage facilities to serve 50 percent of their capacity and close before 9 p.m., the Cong Coffee chain is also testing the waters with five outlets reopening.

Coffee Bike also reopened five stores on the same day.

On Friday, Japanese style hotpot chain Kichi Kichi will resume dining for customers who have made reservations.

Some companies, however, choose to delay their reopening to be better prepared.

Dau Homemade, which sells traditional Vietnamese food, needs another two or three days to get ready.

Lagom Cafe won’t open for another two weeks, as its CEO Do Thi Ly Na said the store needs more time to observe market reactions and to complete a new look.

The cautious decisions of food and beverage facilities in Ho Chi Minh City came as shop owners are concerned their staff might be infected with Covid-19 as the city still recorded over 1,000 new cases in the last seven days.

It would be dangerous to immediately bring back business to pre-pandemic status as the coronavirus is still spreading, said Hoang Tien, founder of Coffee Bike.

Dau Homemade, which is offering take-aways and deliveries, is still testing its employees once every three days even though the city does not require it.

A spokesperson for the company said another concern is tightened spending as consumers have grown used to five months of staying mostly home.

Sales are not likely to cover costs as the company will have to spend big on marketing to urge customers to return.

Deliveries will continue to be the life source of the company, the spokesperson said.

Tran Ngoc An, a spokesperson for Gong Cha, expressed optimism as the city has decided to live with Covid-19 and authorities vocalized not imposing another citywide social distancing campaign.

This will give food and beverage businesses confidence to offer services amid the remaining months of the year.

"We really want to see the city become vibrant again in the upcoming holidays."

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