Once teeming with customers, Alamgir Hotel near JJ hospital wears a deserted look these days. After the implementation of the ban on beef by the Maharashtra government, the 90-year-old hotel has seen its business dip by a staggering 70%.
“We may have to shut down soon if things do not improve,” said Mohseen Quereshi, 29, a third-generation partner in the hotel.
Of the 17 dishes on its menu, 15 were of beef. “We have no option but to rework our menu card, and replace the dishes with chicken and mutton items,” said Quereshi.
The decision to stop slaughter of bulls and bullocks may affect most of the restaurants located in Muslim-dominated areas such as Pydhonie, Null Bazaar, Bhendi Bazaar, Kurla, Mankhurd and Govandi.
Many Muslim-run restaurants catered to those who could not afford chicken and mutton dishes. But, now with beef going off the menu, they are scrambling to create new dishes.
Beef dishes at Alamgir were available between Rs30 and Rs60 a plate, but with chicken finding prominence on the menu, the rates will be doubled to around Rs60-90. “We cater to the labour class and they can’t afford these dishes,” said Quereshi.
The Noor Mohammadi Hotel at Bhendi Bazaar, famous for its nalli nihari, had customers walking out
once they were informed beef was no longer available. “Most of our customers are non-Muslims and come here as they can’t cook beef at home. They tell us there is no point coming to the hotel if they can’t get what they want,” said Khalid Hakeem, 48, owner of the hotel.
The hotel, which started in 1923, is now trying to replace its famous beef dish with a chicken one.
Even roadside eateries are facing the brunt of this ban. Amjad Khan, who ran a seekh kebab stall at Madanpura, had to borrow money to pay his daughter’s fees. “I have shut my stall after the ban. I have no savings left,” said Khan, who sold kebabs at Rs25 a piece.
Customers aren’t too happy on missing out on their favourite dishes and paying more. “I could have a beef dish within Rs50, but now I have to spend around Rs100,” said Arif Modan, a small-time broker of used cars and bikes. “Eating mutton is out of the question. It is just too expensive,” he added.
Hoteliers said prices are likely to rise as the demand for chicken, lamb and buffalo will increase.