Sunny May Day Weekend Could Boost Restaurant Sales | News

The May 1st weekend could help restaurants that have gone through tough times.

The Kappeli terrace in Helsinki is expected to be lively on the weekend of May 1. Image: Tiina Juutila / Yle


May 1 brunches typically occupy restaurants, but coronavirus restrictions prevent tables from fully reserving. To attract customers, restaurants are setting up outdoor dining areas and May Day take-out bags.

Most of the business is scheduled for Saturday.

“Our tables are well reserved for Saturdays, especially for brunch”, declared the managing director of the SOK accommodation and catering chain, Harri Havia.

About 70 percent of SOK’s 500 restaurants and bars will be open to the public this weekend. They mainly focus on establishments serving food.

Traditional May Day venues, such as the 10th-floor restaurant at the Vaakuna Hotel in downtown Helsinki, have attracted the most interest, Havia said.

“I suspect the Kappeli Terrace will be quite busy, weather permitting,” he said.

On Saturday, restaurants will be able to serve brunches and lunches all day, even in areas with the strictest restrictions. According to the CEO of the Finnish Hotel Association (MaRa), Timo lappi, restaurants across Finland reported an abundance of reservations.

“There is a lot of pent-up demand,” Lappi said.

Restaurants will, however, have to close their doors on May 1 at 7 p.m. in areas with a high infection rate.

Take-out bags from May 1st for picnics, brunches

In addition to Saturday lunches and brunches, restaurants have invested in take-out meals.

The restrictions only allow 50% of the capacity of customers inside restaurants and some people may not be ready to venture inside.

Take-out has been important throughout the pandemic, according to Havia. On May 1, take-out takes a bigger role, with take-out “May 1 bags” available for meals at home.

“Some restaurants even offer picnic baskets,” he said.

Many should gather for picnics in the parks. In some parts of Finland, restrictions on gatherings still apply, but small gatherings are not prohibited.

Bars focus on terraces

The weather determines May 1 sales, depending on Antti Raunio, CEO of Night People Group, which operates several nightclubs and bars.

“This May 1 will be very busy on the terraces, fingers crossed,” said Raunio.

Five of the company’s twenty bars, located in Helsinki, Seinäjoki and Kuopio, are however open on May 1, with particular emphasis on the terraces.

“May 1 is a beacon of hope for the industry, but our expectations – bearing in mind the limited capacity and other restrictions – are not huge. At the moment, we are fully targeting the hour when the restrictions will be lifted, ”Raunio said. .

Lappi meanwhile noted that people will likely flock to the terraces, saying they were not subject to capacity limitations.

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