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First Person

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Restaurateur holds the line
When restrictions imposed to battle the COVID-19 pandemic seriously impacted hospitality businesses everywhere, Manuel Palacio (main picture, left), co-founder and CEO of Hong Kong’s Pirata Group, was determined not to lay off any full-time staff or close any venues. As the COVID-19 restrictions are rolled back and hospitality business recovers, the seasoned restaurateur from Spain gives the reasons for Pirata’s success, and plans for the way forward.
16 Nov 2020
Concept is king
European-style bistro-beer hall chain Frites spices up Hong Kong’s vibrant food scene with an extensive selection of Belgian draught and bottled beers together with national fare such as mussel pots and pork ribs.
9 Nov 2020
Hotelier goes meat-free
To promote plant-based eating and cut its carbon footprint, Hong Kong-based hotel group Ovolo has launched a 12-month campaign, Year of the Veg, removing meat from restaurant, bar and room-service menus at its hotels on Hong Kong Island – Ovolo Central and Ovolo Southside.
2 Nov 2020
Giving by the mouthful
Hong Kong social enterprise Cookie Smiles began baking and selling snaps and crunches in June this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, creating jobs for disadvantaged people and supporting local charities in the process.
27 Oct 2020
Smoker takes a plunge
In the United States Texans are known as pioneers and risk takers – having the confidence to open up a restaurant in Hong Kong amid the COVID-19 pandemic is a fine example.
19 Oct 2020
Boutique hotels prepare for recovery
COVID-19 travel restrictions have confined the world’s travellers to their quarters for 2020 and departure dates remain impossible to fix but this does not stop high-end travellers from dreaming about getting away from it all.
12 Oct 2020
Lights must stay on
Dealing with uncertainty could be described as the most important task of a business owner or manager, and lack of information is a key element of uncertainty.
5 Oct 2020
Design of recovery
Inspirational design has the power to uplift and transform individuals and communities and after a turbulent 12 months, and Business of Design Week (BODW) later this year will do just that for Hong Kong.
28 Sept 2020
Virus brings smart response
A key strength of start-ups is their ability to adapt quickly to new circumstances, whether these are a change in the environment, shift in markets or technological disruption.
21 Sept 2020
Discerning tipplers reshape market
With limited-edition bottles and private labels gaining a foothold in the market, standard spirits brands have received a wake-up call as Hong Kong buyers become more discerning in their choice of tipple.
14 Sept 2020
Family office business booms
In his novel Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy held that happy families are all alike but unhappy ones each have their own unique misery.
7 Sept 2020
Hong Kong leads in upcycled fashion
As COVID-19 raises awareness of sustainability issues, Hong Kong fashion collection Refashioned has become the first label globally to be recognised by the new Upcycling Verification Program launched by Swiss certification firm Standard Global Services (SGS) in July this year.
31 Aug 2020
Budget airline weathers COVID storm
As aircraft sit empty on runways around the world, budget carrier AirAsia – the continent’s biggest low-cost airline – has been broadening its horizons.
24 Aug 2020
Home-grown travel takes off
Travel has been put on pause in 2020 as families swap long-haul trips for staycations in hotels or flats close to home.
17 Aug 2020
Need for speed in COVID testing
Living things are complicated and relationships between them – including infections of one by another – even more so.
10 Aug 2020
Indian street food goes upmarket
Many Indian restaurants in Hong Kong offer versions of the country’s diverse cuisine.
3 Aug 2020
Masked in style
Hong Kong-based artist and fashion designer Leanne Claxton - who made her name with silk scarves and accessories showcasing her floral prints - started making face masks from leftover silk in March as COVID-19 swept through Europe.
27 July 2020
Collaboration key in post-COVID-19 workplace
Many employees are still working entirely remotely in an effort to control the COVID-19 pandemic, removing the social benefits of the workplace.
20 July 2020
Remote conferencing zooms out
As well as mammoth challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic has also brought opportunities – not least to the technology sector.
13 July 2020
Virus outbreak shakes up offices
The post-COVID-19 workplace will be very different from the workplaces that went before.
6 July 2020
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