Singapore bars, bistros bustle with recession deals

Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:38am EDT
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By Nopporn Wong-Anan

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - From pizza delivery chains to fancy restaurants, "recession" is now a buzz word on menus of many restaurants and bars in Singapore, a nation in the middle of its worst-ever economic downturn.

Walking through crowded bars and restaurants in the riverside entertainment hub Clarke Quay or the main shopping strip Orchard Road, Singapore's economy does not seem to be suffering.

But bar and restaurant owners say they are having to offer deals to pull in customers, after a slump in business last month.

"When you get depressed, you need more beer," said Ian Fitzgerald, an English software developer for Standard Chartered.

"I notice than more people are drinking at the beginning of the week than at the end of the week," he said, standing outside a bar in the city's financial district.

The Hard Rock Cafe, just off Singapore's main shopping boulevard Orchard Road, is offering a S$10 ($6.50) "Recession Set Lunch," a promotion that came after the restaurant saw a 20 percent drop in its business in February.

It said sales had improved this month and it looked to build on this with new monthly promotions.

"We won't call it Happy Hour because that's what everybody is calling it. You need to be a bit more creative," said the chain's promotion manager Natalie Wee.   Continued...

<p>Lunchtime diners sit inside a Hard Rock Cafe restaurant in Singapore March 9, 2009. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash</p>