Despite an increase in demand, restaurateurs claim business is still suffering due to continuing limitations on hours and decreased seating capacity a few months after they were permitted to renew dine-in contracts. They want extended working hours starting this month, as well as financial assistance and help with statutory dues.
In Mumbai, where restaurants are only permitted to operate until 4 p.m. and are required to shutter on weekends, 30-40% of them have remained closed.
Shivanand Shetty, President of the Indian Hotels and Restaurants Association, stated, “We had made our concerns known to NCP head Sharad Pawar and the municipal commissioner, and they had promised us that we would get some relief this month, but nothing has happened so far. We intend to fulfil the chief minister.”
Anurag Katriar, President of the National Restaurant Association of India, claimed that a 50% capacity utilisation guideline eliminates the need for hourly and weekend limits.
Things are looking good in Delhi for Rahul Singh, CEO of the Beer Cafe, but he hasn't been able to open any of his seven locations, except one at Mumbai's airport and three in Bengaluru, which aren't permitted to sell draft beer. “We're attracting the young, work-from-home association professionals. However, instead of measures such as restricting times till 10 p.m., governments should consider harsher monetary penalties for those who break protocols,” he said.
In Delhi, restaurants are permitted to stay open until 10 p.m., although most discourage walk-ins after 9 p.m.
“Although people are stepping out a lot, walk-ins are not welcomed post 9 p.m., since we have to shut down completely by 10 p.m. and our staff has to be back on time. With the state's new liquor coverage allowing bars to stay open until 3 a.m., they must now at the very least extend dining hours. We're losing business in areas like Noida because stores aren't permitted to open on weekends,” said Vikrant Batra, Proprietor, Cafe Delhi Heights.
The demand is encouraging, according to Zorawar Kalra, managing director of Massive Restaurants, and more people are being vaccinated today. The scheduling constraints, on the other hand, are a major source of stress for the company. “The timings must be increased since they will benefit all parties involved — the federal government, businesses, employees, and customers. Even from the standpoint of the Covid-19 guidelines, extending timings is preferable since it prevents many people from trying to fit into a narrower time slot,” he noted.
Last Monday, restaurants in Bengaluru were granted permission to resume serving alcohol. “While retailers have been permitted to offer alcohol, there is a prohibition on the sale of draft beer. As most of our stores include a bar in addition to a pub licence, we operated under the CL-9 (bar and restaurant) licence rather than the RVB (retail merchandising of beer) licence,” said Chethan Hegde, the 1522 chain's founder.
Source: Economic Times