Dhabas and small eateries in the city are among the worst hit by demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, with sales in some of Delhi’s most popular joints also plummeting by more than 50%.
Anil Mehta, who owns an eatery at Shankar Market in Connaught Place, said sales have halved in his shop well known for its rajma chawal and chole bhature.
“As a result, we are buying groceries and food material in much lesser quantities these days. Sales are minimal as people either don’t have money or are busy standing in queues in front of banks and ATMs,” Mehta said.
The food shacks in Chandni Chowk and Nizammuddin, where cheap yet tasty delicacies are available, have also been witnessing minimal footfall.
Mohammad Noor, who operates a makeshift stall selling kebabs at Nizammuddin, has put up a ‘No Credit’ sign in front of his cart.
“People are coming and asking for food on credit. Paise nahin hain udhaar kaha se de (How do we give them credit when we don’t have money ourselves)… I don’t even have enough money to buy meat for my kebabs. The meat seller will consider my situation one day. The next day he will also ask for money,” Noor said.
Over the past four-five days, Noor’s income has come down from Rs 3,000 daily to Rs 1,000-1,500.
“People are so hassled after standing in front of banks and ATMs all day. Still many are not getting cash. Things are getting difficult,” he added.
Outside Moolchand Metro station, Rambilas Pandit, 45, runs a small litti chokha joint.
The Bihar native these days barely manages to make Rs 500-600 as compared to Rs 1,000 or more tha he made daily before the Modi government’s move to scrap the larger currency notes kicked in.
“For making sales of Rs 500, I have to buy groceries worth Rs 300-400. How can my family survive with so little profit?” Pandit asked.
At one corner of Bhogal, a usually crowded Birbal Dhaba was nearly empty on Tuesday afternoon. The owner, who wished not to be named, said cashflow had completely dried up after the ban by the Modi government.
“How will people pay if they eat? So they have stopped eating out or ordering food only,” he said.
Some, however, are evolving to survive. Manvinder Singh, who runs a Chinese eatery in Jungpura Extension, claimed that he has been forced to register with an online payment portal. “When people know they don’t have to pay with cash, they start ordering again,” he said.