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By Yannie Chan | July 7th, 2020

As quarantine measures including the gathering ban eases off in Hong Kong, the food and restaurant industry is slowly returning to normal. Big data analysis from popular local restaurant listing website Openrice reveals how the industry has fared during the pandemic.

1,238 restaurants have shut down from January to May this year, according to data Openrice shared with local newspaper Mingpao. During the same period, 1,362 restaurants have opened. Since it takes time for restauranteurs to finalize closures, an Openrice representative tells Mingpao that the extent of closures might not be fully reflected until several months later. 

“Downtown” areas suffer as residential areas see more opportunities

While the numbers appear more optimistic than expected, there’s one key factor: location. Far more closures were recorded in downtown areas such as Tsim Sha Tsui, Causeway Bay, and Mong Kok than restaurant openings. In Tsim Sha Tsui, for instance, there have been 120 restaurant closures and only 58 openings from January to May this year. 

It appears that people are still visiting restaurants, but shifting to those closer to home. In residential areas such as Tsuen Wan and Kwun Tong, there are more new restaurants than those that shut down. 84 restaurants opened in Tsuen Wan during the COVID-19 pandemic; in Kwun Tong, there have been 51 new restaurants.

Takeaway Orders Soared

Openrice data shows that takeaway orders increased by 5.5 times during the first five months of 2020. The number of restaurants offering takeouts more than doubled, and the increase is most prominent in residential districts including Tai Po and Tseung Kwan O.