Businesses catering to Mothers' Day celebrations are expecting torpid sales as the public chooses to stay home due to fears over severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
Bearing the brunt of the slowdown will be restaurants and flower shops. But some restaurants are pushing home deliveries to keep busy.
Restaurants in five-star hotels are reporting that reservations for Mothers' Day meals have dropped nearly 40 percent from last year.
Weak market demand has dragged retail prices of a dozen carnations down nearly 60 percent to NT$300 from NT$480 last year.
No hotels have been spared.
"Currently, our Mothers' Day dinner reservations are about 60 percent full," Paulina Lin (林婉君), a deputy manager at the Sherwood Taipei said yesterday. "But normally over the last few years, our restaurants were always fully booked one week prior to Mothers' Day," she added.
At the Howard Plaza Hotel (
By yesterday, the hotel's Mothers' Day reservations had slid nearly 30 percent from last year.
Yet hoteliers have back-up plans.
Sherwood Taipei, Howard Plaza, Landis Taipei and Far Eastern Plaza Hotel (
"Earlier this week, after noticing the sluggish reservation report, we decided to take the food to our customers," Wu said.
For two days, May 20 and 21, the hotelier will deliver meals from either its Italian or Chinese restaurants for about NT$4,800 for a four person meal.
As of yesterday Sherwood Taipei received 300 Mothers' Day meal orders, Wu said.
Free delivery from Sherwood Taipei is available for customers in Taipei's Chungshan, Chungcheng, Ta-an and Sungshan districts.
The Landis Taipei Hotel is offering a low-fat, low-calorie Mothers' Day menu at NT$1,800 per person. The hotel has reportedly received 150 orders as of yesterday.
The hotel offers home delivery services for NT$200 for customers in the Greater Taipei area.
Florists, who were hoping to profit from the holiday, have become the newest SARS victims.
"Business is terribly slow," said Jessica Chang (
She added that retail flower prices usually surge 30 percent during Mothers' Day, while this year many Mothers' Day celebrations were canceled because of SARS, killing demand for flowers.
Virtual florists have fared better.
"Mothers' Day sales this year are expected to double [over last year]," said Lee Hsin-Chuan (
The company says it received 500 orders per day this week.
"Several customers canceled trips home to southern Taiwan and have opted to send flowers to their mothers via us instead," Lee said.
Mothers' Day is tomorrow.