KuwaitOther News

Joy, relief as dine-in resumes at restaurants

KUWAIT: People enjoy a meal at a restaurant in Kuwait City yesterday after the government eased dine-in restrictions. – Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: Restaurants and cafes resumed dine-in services yesterday after a three-month ban – albeit only till 8 pm – bringing joy to customers and restaurateurs alike. Haide Somera, a sales manager at a foreign real estate company, was elated. “Our activities are related to real estate and we usually meet our clients at restaurants or cafes.

During the dine-in ban, we were struggling for sales, because people are hesitant to invest during the pandemic, and after they closed restaurants and cafes, we had no place to meet. The office is only good for signing documents; normally, deals are closed at a restaurant,” she said.

Meliza Mendez, owner of a Filipino restaurant in Souq Salmiya, thanked the government for allowing dine-in services again. “The past few months were a struggle for many restaurants. If you don’t have promotions, you cannot earn anything, not even enough to pay the staff,” she said. Mendez complained that during the no-dine-in months, the real estate company that owns the building in which her restaurant is located did not give any rent relief.

“I assumed they would give us discounts like last year, but it didn’t happen; not even leniency for payment. I paid every single month and was even struggling to pay my staff. But it’s my business and I had to take charge, so I dipped into my savings,” she said.

It was the same struggle for newly-opened restaurant, also in Souq Salmiya. “I opened the restaurant at the height of the pandemic. It was busy, as many people were using my resto for their parties. But it didn’t last long,” owner Jerry Sedeno said. “Imagine the money I lost. I rent the entire sixth floor of the building and I am paying a huge amount for it. They gave a 20 percent discount, but only in March and April. My customers are mostly Filipinos and they are not into ordering food and eating at home – they want to dine in,” he said.


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