Ho Chi Minh City restaurants find the pace slow


Hoa, who sells mi Quang (Quang-style noodles with pork and shrimp) in Go Vap District, said that she does not get many orders despite posting her business information to different groups online.

She said pricing was an issue with customers deciding not to order after learning that a bowl of noodles costs VND 50,000 ($ 2.20) while shipping to the district costs VND 35,000. “I only sell 30 to 40 bowls, less than a third of what they used to be,” she said.

Oanh, which serves Hanoi cuisine in Le Hong Phong Street, District 5, the number of orders she received last week was one-fifth of her usual sales before the pandemic-related restrictions were imposed.

“Sometimes I want to quit because my operating costs are high and the business is not profitable. At the moment, I only sell to retain repeat customers,” Oanh said.

The grim situation recurs in other districts, including Tan Binh, District 7 and Thu Duc City.

Many restaurateurs have said that owners and employees sit idly by all day because there are very few orders.

“Take-out has never been so sluggish as it is today. There are far fewer customers, both inside and outside the neighborhood,” a noodle shop owner told the beef that did not wish to be named.

Explaining the situation, several restaurateurs said the price of ready meals has risen 20-30% from normal, causing many people to hesitate to order.

Other store owners have also said they have to increase food prices due to scarcity of supply and rising raw material costs. The prices of vegetables, beef and pork are all up 20% from before the pandemic.

Added to this is the increase in delivery costs which makes the final prices too high for many customers who did not want to order while the pandemic situation remained complicated.

Oanh said the cost of inter-district delivery is sometimes twice as high as the food itself. For example, if a customer orders a box of salty glutinous rice for 30,000 VND, the shipping cost within the district is around 35,000 VND, while the inter-district charge is 60,000 to 100,000 VND, depending on the distance.

“The high cost keeps many people from ordering. I hope the situation will improve once people are allowed to come and buy directly,” Oanh said.

Many restaurants said they were unable to have some orders delivered to customers on the same day.

Loship said last Thursday that the app had logged more than 25,000 orders in Ho Chi Minh City, but the fulfillment rate was not high.

AhaMove said that although delivery requests have increased by around 30%, the order completion rate is low as many drivers have not returned to work and roads are still blocked in many areas.

To lower their prices and retain customers, many merchants want to deliver food directly, but they do not have a travel permit to do so.

HCMC allowed restaurants to resume delivery services from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily from September 8 after suspending them for nearly two months.

The city has recorded more than 336,500 cases of Covid-19 since the end of April, including nearly 5,500 confirmed on Wednesday.

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