Reservations for Spring Festival Eve going fast

Many Chinese restaurants are already booked solid for Spring Festival Eve as customers continue to make reservations earlier and earlier every year for their holiday banquets, the Labor Daily reported Wednesday.
More than 60 percent of the tables at restaurants offering special Spring Festival Eve meals have already been reserved for this year, said Jin Peihua, deputy secretary-general of the Shanghai Restaurants Association.
The next Spring Festival Eve will fall on February 9, 2013, the last day of the Chinese lunar calendar for this year. About 67 percent of families in Shanghai eat out for the occasion, Jin said. That number has continued to increase each year as the standard of living rises in the city.
Locals usually begin making reservations in July, though restaurants don’t see bookings peak until in October and November, Jin said.
Most restaurants book by the table, which typically seats 10 to 12 people, and offer set meals for the occasion. Because it has become such a popular day for dining out, most restaurants provide an early and late meal to meet the rising demand. The first meal usually runs from 4:45 pm to 7:00 pm and the second lasts from about 7:45 pm to 9:00 pm.
Diners typically prefer to book the early meal in a private room, which most restaurants offer.
The popular Xinghualou Restaurant on Fuzhou Road in Huangpu district, which offers banquet dinners at prices ranging from 2,000 yuan ($321) to 5,000 yuan per table, is completely booked. “All of our tables for Spring Festival Eve were reserved a long time ago,” a waiter said. “We aren’t taking reservations anymore.”
The well-known Jade Garden on Nanjing Road West in Jing’an district began receiving reservations in late October and has booked all of its tables for the early meal, an employee said. It still has tables available for the late meal, though all of its private rooms have been reserved. Its tables are priced between 1,880 yuan and 2,880 yuan.