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Western style feels unloved on coming Valentine as it coincides with Chinese New Year

2010-02-12 13:38 BJT

BEIJING, Feb.12 (Xinhua) -- As Valentine's Day draws near, the bosses of many Western-style restaurants are burdened with heavy hearts.

Traditionally one of the busiest days for Western-style restaurants, business is expected to plummet this year because Valentine's Day falls on the first day of the Chinese New Year.

"I'll likely lose at least 50 percent of my business on Valentine's Day,"Mo Xiaoqiong, business manager of LaSeine Restaurant Franca in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, was quoted as saying by Friday's China Daily.

"Most of my clients have chosen to return to their home towns for the Spring Festival, or they'll enjoy family reunion dinners in Chinese restaurants," Mo told the newspaper.

To increase business, Mo has decided to offer the restaurant's special Valentine's Day meals several days before and after.

Simen Tan, manager of 37C 2 Cafe, said business in his restaurant will drop at least 30 percent on Valentine's Day compared with last year. "Many Western-style restaurants are in a quandary about Valentine's Day this year," Tan said.

"We have to offer both Western and Chinese-style cuisines around Valentine's Day to entice local families to have their reunion dinners in our restaurant," Tan said.

The 37C 2 Cafe in the city's Binjiang Road has failed to attract even one booking so far.

"In previous years many young lovers began to book Valentine's Day in restaurants 10 to 20 days in advance," Tan said.

Deng Hongzhi, a white collar, said she and her boyfriend had no plans to visit a Western-style restaurant to celebrate Valentine's Day this year because both had to attend family reunion dinners in Chinese restaurants.

"We will celebrate the most important Chinese festival with our family members this year," Deng said.

In contrast to the bosses of Western-style restaurants, many Chinese restaurant managers are happy because almost all Chinese restaurants in the city have been fully booked for family reunion dinners.

A sales manager, who only gave her family name Xu, from Banxi Restaurant in Guangzhou's Liwan district, said her restaurant was fully booked 20 days in advance.

The prices for family reunion dinners in Banxi, a well-known restaurant, range from 880 yuan (130 U.S. dollars) to 1,300 yuan this year, up about 10 percent from the previous year.

Guangzhou Restaurant, another restaurant of long standing in the city, was also fully booked a month ahead for the family reunion dinner this year.

The price for family reunion dinners is around 2,000 yuan this year, according to a restaurant executive surnamed Xiao.

"Business in the restaurant will grow at least 30 percent this year thanks to the economic recovery," Xiao said.

"Most of the local residents do not grudge spending more money on family reunion dinners this year," he added.

Chen Wenhong, a Guangzhou resident, said eating out at this time was worth the money because it is a once-a-year occasion. "My family has been eating out on the lunar new year for more than two decades," 44-year-old Chen said.

Editor: Du Xiaodan | Source: Xinhua