Chandigarh restaurants give thumbs down to 8pm deadline, most to remain shut - Hindustan Times
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Chandigarh restaurants give thumbs down to 8pm deadline, most to remain shut

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | ByRajanbir Singh, Chandigarh
Jun 08, 2020 01:16 AM IST

Also miffed over rent demand for lockdown period, 50% limit on seating capacity and curbs on serving liquor

Allowed to resume business on Monday, most city restaurants have decided to remain shut, citing problems with UT’s SOP and rent demand for the lockdown period, besides anticipation of low footfall.

Say dinner service is when they get most of their earnings, and closing before that will eat into their profits.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Say dinner service is when they get most of their earnings, and closing before that will eat into their profits.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

UT’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) mandate that all restaurants close by 8pm and limit seating capacity to 50%, which restaurateurs say is not conducive for profits.

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“The fact that we have to take the last order by 7.30pm is bad for business. A large share of our earnings comes during the dinner service, especially in summer. Besides, we can’t seat more than 50% of our capacity. This is sure to translate into losses,” said Ankit Gupta, president of the Chandigarh Hospitality Association.

‘NO LIQUOR, NO DINE-IN’

With SOPs also banning serving of liquor, several restaurants in city’s major eating hubs — Sectors 7 and 26 — will keep their doors closed.

“Liquor service is part of the ambience offered by restaurants. Absence of liquor sale will certainly affect their earnings,” said Gupta.

Manager of Great Bear, Sector 26, Debdip Chaterjee said he will be opening shop only after the sale of alcohol was allowed. Ovenfresh in Sector 7 will be closed for two weeks, as it was being renovated, said Rohit Kumar, its proprietor.

However, Social in the same sector and Swagath Restaurant and Bar in Sector 26 will reopen, offering food and non-alcoholic beverages, said Manish Goel, one of the directors of both outlets.

In Sector 35, a hub of hotels and fast food joints, most eateries will continue only home delivery and takeaway services. Nikhil Mittal, director of Nik Bakers, Sector 35, said they will offer items on their menu through takeaway only. “We are looking at how the administration enforces the SOP before resuming dine-in services,” he said.

The two outlets of Indian Coffee House in Sector 17 and 36 will follow suit, said manager Ramesh Dutt. “We will wait for a few days for clarity before we open up completely,” he said.

FAST FOOD CHAINS KEEP FINGERS CROSSED

Some fast food chains are also unlikely to offer dine-in services for now. A senior official from one of the leading fast-food brands in the city, requesting anonymity, said, “All states are going to have different SOP for dine-in restaurants. The management will go over all these before taking a decision on starting dine-ins.”

However, chief marketing officer of KFC India, Moksh Chopra said they will be returning with a limited menu. “We have modified our restaurant design to ensure social distancing. A limited menu will allow us to work with a smaller team. We aim to provide contactless dining experience to our patrons,” he said.

ELANTE RESTAURANTS TO STAY CLOSED

At Elante Mall, due to impasse over rent between the tenants and the mall owners, the restaurant owners have decided to stay shut on Monday.

Sunveer Sondhi, proprietor of Pyramid and head of National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), Chandigarh, said, “It is incredibly difficult for restaurant owners to pay the rent for April and May when the mall was closed. We are instead asking for a revenue share model based on footfall.”

He said a meeting between the tenants and the mall authorities was scheduled on Monday.

HOTELS TO RETURN PARTIALLY

Some hotels will resume business on Monday, while others will return after ensuring adherence of the SOP.

“The hotels reopening on Monday will follow the SOP and rent out only 50% rooms to maintain social distancing,” said president of the Chandigarh Restaurants and Hotels Association, Arvinder Pal Singh, who is also the proprietor of Hotel Metro in Sectors 35 and 43.

General manager of JW Marriott, Sector 35, Ramandeep Marwah said they were ready to serve patrons. “Hotel rooms are available for booking and the dining area of restaurants will also be thrown open to public while adhering to the SOP for hotels and restaurants.”

General manager of Hotel Lalit at IT Park, Imit Arora confirmed they won’t be reopening yet. “We first need to train our staff to follow the SOP released by the administration, and will return after that,” he said.

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