Boulevard nightcafe fails to meet expectations but city officials say it is still 'too early'

Barely six months since it opened, this city’s night cafe has failed to meet expectations.

Pacifico E. Dolon, Jr., the city treasurer’s office division chief, said since it opened last November, the city earned a total of only P122,800 after the number of tenants dropped drastically from 32 last year to 12 actively operating last month.

The city official, however, did not provide figures on how much the revenue projection is on a quarterly or annual basis.

From November to December last year, the city government collected P64,000 from 32 stalls but the figure dropped from January to March this year when the number of stalls totaled 21, of which only 12 operate regularly.

Originally, the venture that lines over a kilometer of the city’s main boulevard had allotted 80 slots to medium-scale traders and vendors. Mr. Dolon said each stall owner pays a "special permit" of P2,000 and another P150 for the space rental each night it operates, covering Friday and Saturday.

From January to March this year, the city government collected P42,000 for the special permit and P16,800 for the space rental. Grilled by Councilor Jose V. Bejil, Jr. whether it is correct to assume that the earnings is "very minimal", Mr. Dolon replied in the affirmative.

But councilor Christopher T. Bonite, who authored the ordinance allowing the city government to embark on the venture similar to that of Cagayan de Oro City, said it is still too early to declare the venture a failure.

Mr. Dolon reported that since last month, the number of lessees went down possibly due to inclement weather.

Several businessmen have recently expressed opposition to the project.

Johann Jake B. Miranda, outgoing president of the Surigao Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said setting up the night cafe at the city’s main boulevard was a wrong move by the local government.

Mr. Miranda, who owns the city’s oldest hotel located on the same boulevard, said the night cafe should not have been placed where existing businesses are already operating.

But another shop owner on the same boulevard who spoke on condition of anonymity said that he and his colleagues were not allowed to trade even if they already had an existing space there. They were instead required to get a special permit.

Grace Eden, a regular at the night cafe, said she was disappointed because there was no other entertainment or services offered except for food and drinks.

Mr. Bonite, however, is optimistic that the night cafe can still succeed as he has filed another resolution that will introduce a night market and singing contests in the same area. -- Vanessa L. Almeda, BizWorld

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