The COVID-19 pandemic had an immense effect on every part of human life but especially businesses in the food, drink, and hospitality industry. Airlines saw record losses due to social distancing and lockdown measures and restaurants were forced to adapt their businesses in many ways to stay afloat.
One restaurant, Okra Hong Kong which is located in the Sai Ying Pun region of Hong Kong, saw a decline in its seating during the start of the pandemic. According to Max Levy, the owner of the restaurant, only about half of its seats could be used as a result of lockdown measures. To cope, the business has made the interesting choice to now accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment.
Lockdown and the Need for Crypto Payments
Restaurants around the world took many measures in the covid-19 pandemic. Some switched to take-out and delivery only, some slashed prices and offered promos, and in the case of Okra Hong Kong, they changed their payment system. As per a recent report, one of the reasons this was done was because of expensive bank fees and the need to work around the situation.
As of April 21, 2020, the restaurant now takes payments in Ether, XRP, Bitcoin, Binance Coin, or Binance’s stablecoin. He is hoping that this new announcement will help improve the restaurant’s financial situation.
“The main thing that I saw last year through the pandemic was traditionally most restaurants and most small producers don’t have any savings,” he says.
Levy made an interesting observation over the last year which is that many restaurants do not have a great deal in savings and what they do have, is kept in fiat currency. This means that restaurants can easily spend the little that they are saving and this is not good long-term.
Now, patrons of the restaurant can pay for meals using cryptocurrency for which the Hong Kong dollar equivalent is charged and updated every hour. This is done by scanning a QR code in the restaurant and takes place in a few seconds. Levy first became inspired to do this by observing that his multi-currency bank accounts were accumulating small amounts in foreign currency and want to do the same with cryptocurrency.
He acknowledges the risk involved but also hopes that the amount of money being kept in cryptocurrency will turn a profit eventually.