WITH the Singapore economy doing well, Peach Garden Chinese Restaurant knew there would be more demand for its mooncakes this year.
It upped production but has run out of its four-piece mooncake boxes. Customers who want the rich pastries in time for the mid-Autumn festival on Tuesday will have to make do with boxes that hold two mooncakes each.
The restaurant, with outlets in Novena Garden, Thomson Plaza and the OCBC Centre in Chulia Street, says it has sold 60,000 mooncakes, 30 per cent more than last year.
The seven hotels, restaurants and other mooncake retailers which responded to LifeStyle's queries say sales are up, up, up this year. They have sold almost 200,000 mooncakes among them.
Dr Chua Hak Bin, an economist with international financial conglomerate Citigroup, says: 'The sale of mooncakes can be considered as a prosperity index. Businesses are making more profits and wages have surged.
'Economic sentiment is good, so people and companies can afford to be more generous in giving away mooncakes.'
That might be why all 25 boxes of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel's limited edition Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne Mooncakes, retailing at $888 a box, have sold out.
Its more traditional mooncakes are also selling quickly.
Other hotels report very healthy sales too. The Four Seasons Hotel has sold 5,000 four-piece boxes of mooncakes, up from the usual 3,000 boxes in previous years.
A spokesman says: 'This is our best year so far.'
She attributes the jump in sales to the booming economy, adding that customers, especially corporations, are also demanding more elaborate mooncake packaging.
Over at the Carlton Hotel, its in-house restaurant Wah Lok has sold over 10,000 four-piece boxes of mooncakes, up 70 per cent from last year.
Its spokesman says that orders came in as early as July, with sales of the more popular flavours reaching 1,000 boxes in one week.
Traditionally, the big buyers of mooncakes have been multi-national corporations, who buy them to give as presents to clients.
But smaller mooncake retailers such as Pine Garden's Cake in Ang Mo Kio say they received orders from more small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) this year.
Mr Wei Chan, Pine's business development manager, says: 'Orders from our higher-end corporate customers have dropped. With the good economy, they have moved on to buy mooncakes made by hotels, which have more fanciful packaging.
'But the number of SMEs looking for good quality customised mooncakes with customised packaging has increased, albeit at a slower rate.
'It's still an indication of a rosy economy.'
His shop has sold 20,000 mooncakes so far, up more than 100 per cent from last year.
He, like other mooncake retailers, are facing a happy problem: They have run out of some ingredients.
He says: 'What's left on our shelves is what's left of it but even as we speak, we're still getting some orders.'
The Mandarin Oriental's executive chef Eric Teo sums it up this way: 'Perhaps now it is not about the orders, but whether we still have enough ingredients to produce more mooncakes for the demand.'
'What's left on our shelves is what's left of it but even as we speak, we're still getting some orders'
Mr Wei Chan, Pine Garden's Cake business development manager