THE World Cup football tournament proved a boon for Phnom Penh’s bars and restaurants, and owners reported that customer numbers had risen by up to 20 percent during the contest.
Though many tired owners said that late starting times in the Kingdom and poor performances from punters’ favourite sides limited the benefit to business, promotions and thirsty fans still arrived in scores to boost the capital’s eateries.
V Friend restaurant in Teak Laok commune, Phnom Penh, focused on attracting a Cambodian clientele, and executive manager Cheng Vanny said patrons had increased by 20 percent during the contest.
“Most of them wanted to eat food, drink beer and watch World Cup football,” he said.
A lucky draw promotion and sponsorship from San Miguel beer helped attract punters, he added.
Tuol Tom Pong commune’s Rohat Leap restaurant also saw a 20 percent increase in custom while screening the matches, according to cashier Yous Sereypiseth yesterday.
“Sometimes there were no available seats,” he said.
“The World Cup is the biggest sporting event,” agreed 3Rivers bar and restaurant owner Eden Thomas, who said it was too early discuss revenues.
3Rivers had been packed with sporting fans particularly during the bigger games, he said, but England’s early departure from the tournament had slowed custom from the nation’s backers.
Noel Hunt, owner of Hunter’s restaurant and bar, located in Boeung Keng Kang, said his business had been particularly strong in the first week of the tournament, but that early defeats of England and the United States and the late timing of some games had taken their toll.
He said staying open until 4am for some of the games had been a challenge.
“I wouldn’t want it to last another week,” he said, and added that his cooks had served the last chili dog at 4:20am during one match.
Raffles Le Royal’s Elephant Bar saw a similar number of customers compared with the regular turnout for happy hours, marketing manager Catherine Lapierre said, but patrons generally stayed longer to take in the matches.
Owner of the sports mainstay Gym Bar, Randal Laurence, saw a major increase in punters.
“Business was probably on par with the tournament four years ago,” he said.
Several bar owners declined comment for this story, citing after-effects of the tournament final held yesterday.