Business Times

It's a ‘party’for venues in Colombo

By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera

First it was the Shopping Precinct housing a host of restaurants at the former Dutch Hospital which was making the rounds and now it is 'One Street Three Venues' at Park Street Colombo 2 - all indicating Sri Lankans' appetite for eating out and more importantly, the increase in their consumer spending.
Colombo's nightlife as well as the 'day life' so to speak seem to be picking up fast with the post war peace mode kicking in, according to the owners of these establishments. Harpo Gooneratne, Managing Director Harpo's Cafes and Restaurants running the three venues at the Park Street namely the Park Street Mews Restaurant, the Warehouse D and the stables noted that the demand for venues in Colombo is unprecedented. He along with many others stressed that Colombo lacks locations for functions.

"Colombo really lack venues compared to countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, etc," he pointed out, on the sidelines of the launch of the three venues at Park Street, noting that now with the economy picking up consumer spending is also on the rise with new diners, restaurants and venues capitalizing on this demand.

He noted that these venues aren't straight forward ballroom types and that they possess flexibility to host any type of event. Incidently some of the hotels too are expanding their ballrooms while the five-star hotels in Colombo are running at near-capacity.

Colombo's nightlife is fast increasing and with that dining out, once thought to be a luxury, is now common. Now with increased purchasing power, the urban population has become wealthier, older, more educated, and more ethnically diverse than in the past. With such demographic changes, Colombo's needs will, according to Mr. Gooneratne, increase in the coming years.

Consumers will continue to shift their demographic profile which in turn will impact on what people will eat and how much they will spend, where people will eat, and what product characteristics will command the consumer's dining out which all translate o the immense potential for 'more' such places, Mr. Gooneratne added.

Ishfa Nawal, Partner Choco Luv, a milkshake bar which started operations two moths ago at Ward Place, Colombo 7 noted that they have made profits since the first month. Those big names and large operators are inking deals for new properties, which show that Sri Lanka is in the big league.
Barista, Delifrance, Commons and Hotshots are some of the older coffee houses in town while Coco Veranda, Coffee Stop and Coffee Bean are the later additions and some of the latest chains which are gearing to start more branches in the Colombo suburbs.

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