41pc of restaurants affected, survey finds Nearly 60 per cent of restaurants said business did not suffer because of the smoking ban, a survey has found. The survey by the catering industry found that the income of 41 per cent of restaurants in Hong Kong suffered because of the ban, while 19 per cent earned more since the ban came into effect in January. Catering-industry legislator Tommy Cheung Yu-yan - a strong opponent of the ban - said the results showed restaurants were not benefitting as much as they should from the city's robust economic growth. Despite the pessimistic picture painted by the industry, government statistics show that the city's restaurant receipts in the second quarter of the year increased as much as 9.5 per cent compared with a year earlier, after discounting the effect of price increases. Different types of outlets, totalling 560, were polled by PolyU Technology and Consultancy for the Catering Industry Association. Two in five respondents saw a drop in either sales revenue or the number of customers in the first half of this year compared with the same period last year, while just a fifth enjoyed better business. Karaoke clubs were the worst hit, with all those polled saying they had fewer customers and three-quarters saying they earned much less. The survey was the first in a three-phase study on the impact of the smoking ban on the catering industry. The association will conduct two similar surveys over the next 12 months. Mr Cheung said that from his experience, a restaurant should achieve growth of at least 10 per cent to 20 per cent in a strong economy such as this year's. 'However, there are only one-fifth of them making more money, which certainly has to do with the new law,' Mr Cheung said. Although the government has claimed the ban might help business, more than half the respondents in the survey disagreed with the suggestion that the law had brought an improvement. Anthony Lock Kwok-on, managing director of karaoke chain California Red complained that business had dropped more than 20 per cent from January to May, though the situation improved from June when the summer holiday started. 'It is a hard time for us,' Mr Lock said. 'To cope with the negative influence of the smoking ban, we have opened morning sessions to attract more family customers. Yet they usually spend HK$30 or HK$40 each, much less than customers at night who often spend HK$100 or more.' Because of the drop in the number of customers and the increasingly competitive market, the karaoke chain has closed three of its 19 outlets across the city. Mr Cheung expressed concern for catering outlets whose businesses were particularly affected by the ban and suggested the government allow 'smoking rooms' in these places to attract more customers. The Food and Health Bureau said it was studying the feasibility of promoting the use of smoking rooms.