Restaurants and entertainment venues in Thailand are struggling with rising power bills and the abscence of outdoor customers due to the current scorching weather. Super malls, however, are getting more customers from people looking for shade and cool air, according to Thanakorn Kuptachit, an advisor to the Thai Alcohol Business Association.
Thanakorn revealed to the Thai media on April 22nd that the sweltering weather across Thailand is negatively affecting entertainment places, hotels, and restaurants.
The absence of outdoor customers due to the heat also adds to the businesses’ burden.
“Although businesses are running normally, they are being affected by the unfavorable weather. However, there is still support from night-time tourists, although the legal closing time has still not been extended as previously proposed,” Thanakorn stated.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Thaniwan Kulmongkol, President of the Thai Restaurant Association, told Thai media that the current electricity price is significantly rising, especially in the restaurant sector.
From her survey, she found that one unnamed large restaurant chain’s latest overall electricity bill has spiked to 1.7-1.8 million baht, compared to the previous bill of 1.1-1.2 million baht, representing an increase of over 70%. However, restaurant operators are unable to immediately adjust their selling prices, so electricity costs are absorbed into their management expenses.
In contrary to the aforementioned businesses, super malls are benefiting from increased customers from people looking for a cool refuge from the blazing sun and who do not have or do not want to run air conditioning at home.
Mr. Nattakit Tangpoonsinthana, Vice President of the Marketing Division of Central Department Store, stated that due to the hot weather, there has been an increase in customer footfall.
Central World has seen an approximate increase of 10-15% in customer visits compared to normal days, with over 200,000 people per day, including both Thais and international tourists alike, during the recent Songkran festival.
He said Thai and foreign visitors choose to visit retail stores within shopping malls and department stores, particularly during weekends. There has been a significant increase in customer footfall starting around 11:00 AM, compared to the previous pattern of visiting between 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM. Customers are also spending more time in stores, shops, and malls, with an average visit duration of 3-4 hours, Nattakit stated.
In a move to respond to the public outcry over the rising power bills, caretaker Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha revealed he will wait for a special meeting with the Energy Regulatory Commission before approving a 7-satang reduction in the electricity tariff for the May to August period.