Chrismas party crunch: lean times for restaurant as companies tighten their belts

2009-12-12 00:00

TOUGH economic times have forced companies to cut down on Christmas parties, causing a drop in restaurant bookings in Durban.

Some companies have opted not to have an annual year-end party; others have reduced budgets, leaving employees to contribute to their Christmas party.

Blessing Makwangwaidze, manager of Zack’s at Wilson’s Wharf in Durban, said Christmas party bookings have fallen by 20% as companies tighten their belts.

He said bookings have been “dismal” due to the recession.

“Those companies that want to have their parties at Zack’s ask for the set menus, which are cheaper. People have to pay for their own drinks,” he said.

Makwangwaidze said the weather has also affected bookings. Zack’s is an open- deck restaurant overlooking the yacht mole.

Latif Vally, event manager at Bean Bag Bohemia in Greyville, said that initially party bookings were limited, but there has been a last-minute rush. He said this could be due to firms approving party budgets at the last minute.

“Things are starting to get busy and we’re almost fully booked. There are some companies who are not giving their employees a party so we are glad that we are getting bookings,” he said.

Paul Veltman of Harvey Wallbangerz in Durban North said travel agencies and corporates still hold parties, but have scaled down. He said some reduced their party budgets by half.

Samantha Pillay, a sales rep in Overport, said she and her colleagues decided to skip their party and use the money to buy toys for a local orphanage.

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