Prepped and ready for customers

PETALING JAYA: News about the extended opening hours for restaurants drew mixed reactions from the food and beverage (F&B) industry, with some ready to welcome late night customers while others in need of more time to prepare for the shift.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that restaurants, grocery stores, petrol stations and convenience stores would be allowed to operate from 6am to midnight from yesterday.

“We welcome the extension as this allows more customers to have a meal even later in the night or after work. Customers will be happy knowing that they can stay out longer,” said Tiki Taka owner Hansjeet Gill.

“From a business perspective, my team has been prepped since restaurant operating hours were gradually extended, from 8pm to 10pm and now, midnight.

“The extended hours would also help with my restaurant’s cash flow and allow me to repay suppliers, while staff who want to earn extra money can now opt for overtime.”

Souled Out Group marketing manager Fanny Foo said four of the group’s restaurants were ready to operate until midnight as of yesterday.

In addition, employees at its restaurants – Souled Out in Hartamas and Bangsar South, WIP and Hubba – were all fully vaccinated.

“We prefer that customers make prior reservations for better crowd management. We started receiving bookings for night sessions at Souled Out Hartamas yesterday,” said Foo.

“Our tables are sanitised immediately after customers leave and our cutleries are sealed in plastic packs for hygiene purposes.”

As a fine-dining establishment, Nobu Kuala Lumpur general manager Gopi Kanala said the management welcomed the extended operating hours so customers could better enjoy their meals and dining experience.

“Since the reopening on Sept 1, there have been occasions when we had to rush customers through their meals as we had to close our restaurant by 10pm to comply with the standard operating procedures.

“With a later closing time, customers can relax, savour their meals with their dining companions and take in the view from the restaurant,” he said, adding that pre-pandemic, Nobu’s kitchen typically closed at 10.45pm and restaurant doors at midnight.

Gopi added that Nobu KL would use one day to fine-tune its kitchen and operations, and only close at midnight starting today.

Under the Marriott Group, the following F&B premises will be observing extended hours until midnight by today – Jann at Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown, Sala at Sheraton Petaling Jaya Hotel, WET Deck at W Kuala Lumpur and Astor Bar at The St Regis Kuala Lumpur.

“Guests who want to patronise these places have to be fully vaccinated and display a ‘low virus risk’ status. Prior bookings are advised as limited seats are available,” said a Marriott Group representative.

Hard Rock Cafe Kuala Lumpur general manager Ranjit Singh said the restaurant would delay extending its operating hours until the first weekend of October.

“We don’t want to do anything too drastic too soon,” he explained.

“We opened on Aug 24 for dine-ins but business was slow, as Concorde Hotel next door was still closed then. But we are seeing a gradual increase in footfall with the hotel reopening.”

Ranjit said the scenario is very different when there were tourists as they would want to hang out until late at night, while locals would eat earlier and leave.

A quick check with a few five-star hotels in Kuala Lumpur revealed that their lounges are not ready to extend their business hours just yet.

“Lobby Lounge will still close at 10pm for now. It’s mostly the business crowd that comes in for a meal and they don’t linger for drinks after that,” said a representative from Hilton Kuala Lumpur.

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