Despite holiday season, restaurant owners unenthusiastic

resturant food
(File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN Restaurants usually see a boom in their business as the holiday season approaches, but the situation this year seems different, according to observers and restaurant owners. اضافة اعلان

Many in the restaurant business have said that the economic situation this year is more difficult, and they do not expect things to pick up.

Omar Al-Awwad, the head of the Jordanian Union of Restaurants and Confectionery Proprietors, said, “we do not believe that there will be a good activity this month”, attributing this to “poor liquidity among citizens”.

“We, as a union, suggested that the central bank postpone loan payments for a period of two to three months — until the market revives, but the bank did not respond,” he said.

He said that the recent decision to prohibit hiring foreign workers in the restaurant industry, asking that local workers be employed instead, forced restaurant owners to raise the salaries of foreign workers, given “the refusal of local workers to work in the sector”.

At the same time, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens’ purchasing power has declined, and their priorities have changed, he said, due to a rising cost of living, and all of this “reflected negatively on the restaurant sector”.

Restaurant owner Amer Fahd concurred, reiterating that the purchasing power “has declined a lot”; he also said that he was “not optimistic at all about a near revival” of the sector.

“In the past, families used to go to restaurants once a week. Today, they might pay a visit to a restaurant once a month, which is a bad indicator for the restaurant industry,” he said.

Sahem Al-Dhahrawi, yet another restaurant owner, showed optimism, expressing belief that the restaurant business will pick up this month “in conjunction with the holiday and festive season”.

“There will be a recovery in the restaurant sector, especially if employees receive their salaries on time,” he told Jordan News.

Raed Hamada, representative of the restaurant sector at the Jordan Chamber of Commerce, told Jordan News that the “economic movement may be activated and restaurant turnout may increase by a small percentage only”.

“Families’ priorities are different now; they used to pay for luxuries and entertainment, but not anymore,” he said, stressing that the “commercial sector is still suffering and will need some five years to recover”.

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