SINGAPORE: Some popular eateries in Little India have seen as much as a 30 per cent dip in the number of reservations for Christmas Day.
They said it is unusual, since tables are always full at this time of the year as customers celebrate the festive season with family and friends.
But the eateries said the drop in reservations is not unexpected, as the area is still recovering from the riot that took place on December 8.
This is despite efforts to attract diners with special menus and dishes, including turkey tandoori and turkey masala.
Some outlets are hoping that walk-in diners can make up for the shortfall in group reservations, which usually comprise families, tourists, and corporate groups.
Subramani Stalin, restaurant manager at Muthu’s Curry, said: "Last year, we were getting 20 to 25 reservations. This year, (we received) lesser-- 10 to 12 reservations."
G Shanmugam, owner of Gayatri Restaurant, said: "I hope the Christmas festivities will be as good as last year's. We also had two weeks of bad business at Little India because of the riot."
It has been almost three weeks since the riot took place along Race Course Road, and while the crowds have started to slowly trickle back into the area, shopkeepers and restaurant owners said this is still some way off from being back to normal.
And they said this could be due to the perception that Little India is not safe.
Liquor sellers are also hoping Christmas Day will bring better business. But they also intend to stick closely to the licensing restrictions on the sale of alcohol.
R M Suresh, managing director of Pamban Trading, said he locks the fridge that stores alcohol in the shop, so that customers will not buy alcohol outside permitted hours.
Doing this means he will not get into trouble, unlike Yeo Buan Heng Liquor Shop along Chander Road.
The liquor store’s licence was suspended by the police after it was found to have sold a can of beer after the permitted hours of 6am to 8pm over the weekend.
The store's proprietor said she had already closed for the night, but made the sale after a persistent customer repeatedly asked her to. - CNA/nd
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