Food

Filipinos Aren't Ready to Eat at Restaurants Anytime Soon, According to Survey

Joel Binamira shares his insights on the local restaurant scene.
IMAGE Victor He for Unsplash
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An informal survey held by Zubuchon’s Joel Binamira (a.k.a. Marketman) shows that people are not yet ready to go back to dining out—or spend as much for it.

In an Instagram post on May 14, Binamira asked his followers: “Once quarantine restrictions are relaxed in whichever city you live in the world, for the next 90-120 days, would you [do] A, B, C, or D?” with the following choices: A. “Yes, I will dine in [at restaurants], and I will spend less than 50% of my normal restaurant expenditure per month”; B. “Yes, I will dine in, and I will spend more than 50% of my normal restaurant expenditure per month”; C. “No, I will not dine in, and my takeouts and deliveries will be roughly 0-25% of my normal restaurant expenditure per month”; and D. “No, I will not dine in, and my takeouts and deliveries will be roughly 26-50% of my normal restaurant expenditure per month.” To date, the post has over 1,200 comments.

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On May 21, Binamira posted the results of his survey. A whopping 88.8% of the respondents said they would not be dining out anytime soon. Of these respondents, 50.3% said takeouts and deliveries would be roughly 0 to 25% of their normal restaurant expenditure per month, while the remaining 38.5% said these would be 26 to 50% of their normal restaurant expenditure per month.

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Only 11.2% answered that they would dine out at restaurants, with 8.6% saying they would spend less than 50% of their normal restaurant expenditure per month and only 2.6% saying they would spend more than 50% of their normal restaurant expenditure per month.

"It’s a huge guesstimate, but that seems to be pointing towards a revenue decline of roughly 50 to 75% for most fine-dining and casual sit-down dining restaurants in large Philippine metropolitan areas over the remainder of 2020, and possibly beyond," Binamira says in the survey results post.

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"If that’s anywhere near the reality," he adds, "many casual dining establishments will have great difficulty surviving the year." Binamira says that this could potentially lead to 20 to 40% of casual restaurants closing by the end of 2020, unless some or all of these factors come into play: lower rental rates; furloughing "at least 50% or more of staff"; stronger support from consumers; restaurants adjusting to "the new reality of takeouts and deliveries"; government assistance, finding capital for the business to survive longer; and loan relief, among others.

Would taking a page from restaurants in other countries—such as employing clear partitions and fewer, more spaced-out tables—make a difference in the responses? “I think people will either venture out to dine, or not. It’s a matter of confidence that the virus is under control," says Binamira in a chat with SPOT.ph. "So while either cosmetic or more permanent changes may help to tweak client response a bit, I think it’ll do little to change overall sentiment. It’ll help that every other table is empty, but can a restaurant really survive on 25% or 50% of its current seats? Not for long.”

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"Reticence is a function of confidence in the health situation and elapsed time, Binamira adds. "Customers will return eventually, it's just a question of how long and at what pace."

Binamira participated in When Can We Dine Again?, a forum on the future of dining on May 21.

Main image by Cloris Ying/Unsplash; used for illustrative purposes only.

This story originally appeared on Spot.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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