Eatery pay not so healthy
As told to Chiu Po-sze
Prospects for the Hong Kong food and beverage industry remain bright, because dining out has already become a daily habit for many people.
However, the industry's development looks distinctly unhealthy, owing to the skyrocketing rents that restaurant owners have to pay. In these circumstances, only chain restaurants can survive. Owners of small and medium-sized establishments can barely afford the crazily high rents, leaving them with no choice but to close down.
The food industry seems to be dominated by chain restaurants. Customers have less choice and this is no good for the development of the sector. Naturally, it is also bad for Hong Kong, which has an otherwise excellent reputation as a food paradise. We hope the government can offer more assistance to help the industry develop, such as subsidising small restaurants' water and electricity bills, as paying these is also one of the heaviest burdens for owners.
The statutory minimum wage has been in force more than a year now. Under this, workers can enjoy a HK$28-an-hour minimum wage.
However, considering the high inflation rate, workers' incomes have grown little since the law was implemented.
Law Kwong-ming, Eating Establishment Employees General Union