Where to eat before your next concert

SINGAPORE – Just like the spurned lover in her 2020 song Champagne Problems, American pop star Taylor Swift seems to have an unparalleled Midas touch. 

Wherever she goes, legions of screaming fans, swarms of paparazzi and overall economic boom follow. But beyond hotels and airlines, one particular group is hoping to taste the sweet fruits of “Swiftonomics”. 

It is the restaurants and eateries located around the National Stadium, where Swift will perform her six sold-out shows from March 2 to 9. 

Weekdays are typically a quiet affair for these businesses. “There are no malls or offices nearby, so we don’t get many visitors during lunchtime,” says Ms Priya Joseph, 47, chef de cuisine at Yarana, a riverside Indian restaurant at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. 

Yarana’s neighbours face a similar struggle. Brewerkz, a craft beer brewery which has been operating along the same stretch since 2009, says footfall and sales at its Indoor Stadium outlet tend to fluctuate unpredictably. 

Likewise, Japanese hotpot restaurant Suki-Ya and Taiwanese cafe Typhoon say customer traffic at their Kallang Wave Mall outlets has been “erratic”.

“There are days when there is no activity, and days when the outlets are extremely busy when there are concerts ongoing. As such, the operations teams at these outlets have to be very adaptive to the footfall conditions,” says Ms Bonnie Wong, 35, chief executive of F&B group Creative Eateries, which owns both chains. 

Survival often depends on the influx of customers on concert days. Eateries such as Al Capone’s Sports Bar + Dining and Yarana see about 30 per cent more customers when international acts perform at the National Stadium. 

The spike is even more extreme for French bistro Poulet and Thai restaurant Sanook Kitchen. They received up to 70 per cent more daily visitors – translating into a threefold jump in sales – during British rock band Coldplay’s concerts in January. 

Real estate firm CapitaLand, which takes over the management of Kallang Wave Mall from April, is reviewing plans to enhance the Kallang precinct in collaboration with Kallang Alive Sports Management, which runs the Singapore Sports Hub.  

“This process involves refreshing the retail and dining offerings, reconfiguring spaces to enhance the overall ambience and seamlessly integrating the retail areas with the surrounding precinct spaces,” says a CapitaLand Investment spokesman.

In the meantime, restaurants are bracing themselves for the floodgates to open once again this weekend and the next when Swifties hit the National Stadium. 

For those who will be joining the throng, here is a “Taylor”-made list of what to eat before your show, themed according to the singer’s album eras. 

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