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Weather rains on restaurants’ parade as customers keep away

Business at two eateries with al-fresco areas has dropped by about 20 per cent.


SINGAPORE: Some people may welcome the “sweater weather” as respite in typically sunny Singapore, but the rain has put a damper on businesses that depend on good weather.

Chinese restaurant Jia Rui Yi Pin in the heart of Chinatown is usually packed with diners, but business has gone down by about 10 to 20 per cent, the eatery’s owner Li Rong told CNA on Wednesday (Jan 25).

“There are especially few customers today. Usually, if it isn't raining, we'd have a full house. But there aren't any customers now, and from morning until now we've only had two tables. There's an obvious decrease in customers,” she said.

Other restaurants that partly depend on al-fresco dining, like those in Alkaff Mansion nestled in Telok Blangah Hill Park, are also experiencing the effects of the wet weather, with a fall in the number of walk-in customers.

There has been about a 20 per cent fall in numbers over the rainy period compared to good weather days, said Ms Jessie Tan, marketing executive at The Alkaff Mansion run by F&B, lifestyle and hospitality group 1-Group.

She added, however, that other factors, like the long holiday and people traveling overseas, may have contributed to the drop. 


Options are limited when it comes to protecting customers from the rain at the venue which houses three eateries, Ms Tan said. 

"With the location, we don't really have the ability to build our own car park, or any form of permanent shelter here, because definitely, people want to come up and they want to admire the architecture of the building. So, that is a challenge for us in terms of providing full coverage, full shelter for our guests."

However, the restaurant does what it can to help customers, she said. “(We) provide umbrella service when people are going down to get their Grab (private-hire vehicle).”

She added that some of the al-fresco areas have parasols. 

The restaurants said there is little else they can do other than to weather the storm, at least until the monsoon season passes at the end of this month.

More cool and rainy weather is expected this week due to a monsoon surge, the Meteorological Service Singapore said on Wednesday. 

One of the spaces at The Alkaff Mansion.

The agency said that Singapore and the surrounding vicinity have been experiencing such weather conditions since Sunday, which is the first day of the current surge.

The monsoon surge refers to a "strengthening of winds over the South China Sea, causing extensive rainclouds to form over the surrounding region", said the Met Service, which is under the National Environment Agency (NEA).

The daily total rainfall of 114.4mm recorded at Upper Pierce Reservoir on Sunday - the first day of Chinese New Year - was the highest during this monsoon surge.


The weather has taken some visitors by surprise. 

Lawyer Gabriel, who is based overseas and returned to Singapore for the long holiday over Chinese New Year, said that while he has been traveling by car most of the time, the weather has put a damper on some of his plans.

 "Taking the bus or the MRT has been a bit of a problem, just because, you know, you start having to schedule when you get out of the house.”

Another visitor, a New Yorker who is with the United States Navy, said: “We didn't realise it was going to be raining, 24 hours a day, until like next month, so it's wild."

He added that he would continue with his sightseeing as usual, even for outdoor spaces like Gardens by the Bay.

Source: CNA/ja(ca)


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