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HCMC bars, karaoke lounges provide 'take-away' services

By Dy Tung   October 23, 2021 | 04:43 pm PT
HCMC bars, karaoke lounges provide 'take-away' services
An Icool technician sets up a karaoke system at a customer’s home. Photo by VnExpress/Le Nam
Karaoke lounges, bars and pubs in HCMC are selling “take-away” products and services because they have not been allowed to resume their operations.

Karaoke chain Icool is leasing karaoke systems at rentals of VND3-12 million ($132-528) for three days, seven days or 30 days. "Our systems are always available. If customers cannot come to pick them up, we will deliver them to their homes," said Thuy Duong from the chain’s business department.

According to her, the "take-away" karaoke service is new but promising because most karaoke systems already bought by families are low-end or mid-end, so they as well as households without karaoke appliances tend to rent hi-end systems like Icool’s.

Before launching the "take-away" service, 20 branches of Icool with a total workforce of 600 have done their second jobs such as furniture repair and food selling for nearly six months.

"Selling food is just a simple way to keep our business going. We have had to borrow a lot of money to provide allowances to staff, and maintain machines and facilities," Duong said.

All 500 karaoke lounges, 180 bars and discotheques in HCMC have ceased operations for nearly six months to contain Covid-19 threat.

"This industry (karaoke service in HCMC) is in danger of being wiped out if it is out of business for nine months," Duong stated.

Karaoke chain Nnice Over said that all of its 500 employees are unemployed, so they have to do various jobs to make ends meet. Some small karaoke lounges have decided to sell their systems, stopping their business.

Like karaoke lounges, some bars and pubs are selling bottled cocktails and other alcoholic drinks in the form of take-away.

Vu Tran Quynh Anh, owner of Con Voi Bar in HCMC’s Thu Duc City, said its bottled cocktail revenue is only one-tenth of its revenue when the bar operates normally.

Bars’ take-away drinks attract few customers because people often go to bars to listen to music, dance and meet others, Anh said, noting that 60 percent of customers come to bars for space and interaction.

Anh said she hoped HCMC would resume on-site dining and entertainment services in November.

"HCMC will gradually resume on-site dining and other services so people could regain their livelihoods," city chairman Phan Van Mai told the press Friday. From next week, the city would start allowing eateries in low-risk areas to serve customers on their premises, he said.

The municipal Department of Industry and Trade on Oct. 19 proposed the muncipal authorities allow all restaurants and eateries to resume on-site services, except for those offering alcoholic drinks.

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