In Summary

Option. With many people out of the city, and therefore, limited activity around, some businesses choose to temporarily close shop to reorganise for the New Year.

January records. For Da Hood Restaurant, even while clients come back to the city in January, they eat cheap food with those who used to afford a plate worth Shs8,000 affording to part away with only Shs3,000 for a meal.

Kampala streets on days leading up to Christmas are filled to the brim with hungry shoppers all over the city buying all sorts of things.

Between December 21 and 24, one can barely get path to their destination. This is not out of the ordinary for festivities to show so much display of trading action not only in Kampala but also in other major towns across the country.

Despite the multitudes of people roaming through the city streets, not all businesses get a fair share of the Christmas cake.

Customers leave for villages
Ms Grace Gita, the manager at Da Hood Restaurant along Nasser Road, says sales start reducing by December 20. Her major customers, the surrounding offices, are closed to give room for festivities, especially away from the city. Business is slow for her restaurant at this time.

To mitigate any loss, she cuts down on the amount of food prepared to supply to the fewer walk-in customers she gets. She does this to keep in business by maintaining the few customers left. The season comes at a cost for her.

Since many people need to celebrate around Christmas time, employees depart for their villages leaving her with very limited staff. To make up for it, she now has to work herself and even drag her relatives on holidays to assist with service.

“We cut on products and supply the few around. Even then, we sometimes still make losses since we end up sitting all day. I have to work because most employees are away. They are supposed to be six, but they are now only three. I end up getting very tired at times,” Ms Gita says.

Viable alternatives
Out of 10 businesses Daily Monitor spoke to only two admitted to working during Christmas.
The others choose to close shop because it is either mandatory per building requirements or because there are no customers to serve.

Christmas travels have never stopped La Ponye Hotel Apartments near old Taxi Park from operating. The manager on duty says despite a reduction in customers, the apartments are open even on Christmas Day. The common customers during this time are the people from the diaspora and some married couples.

La Ponye invests in different offers to appeal to the few still in the city. The apartments give hampers, discounts, bonus amenities to attract those around town.

In addition to the gifts, a marketeer is also employed to spread the word around, informing people of the benefits of visiting them.

Employee challenge
The manager says just like a hospital doesn’t close, a hotel cannot. The service is vital for humanity and prompts all employees to know their responsibility.

She says they work all through the season and a holiday of about two to three days is given in January when work is minimal.
According to these people business only picks up later in February as focus is put on taking children back to school in January.