City’s F&B industry on better grounds in the third wave of the pandemic. Here’s how
The year is coming to an end and with endings come new beginnings. This is evident in the NCR’s dine-in and food delivery scene, an industry which is rebuilding itself with renewed hope. A late evening stroll in Khan Market unfurls facts about how some restaurants are planning to host guests.
At Townhall, we were stopped briefly for a thermal scan and were told that only 50% of the original capacity is allowed. Inside, tables are demarcated, but even that 50% is to its max capacity. Navneet Kalra, owner, says, “Footfall is still the same, and in fact, has gone up by 15% since October-November. After the pandemic, our delivery orders have gone up by 50%.”
At Public Affair, after a quick thermal scan, we are lead upstairs where both the storeys are operational, but with tables marked. The staff is wearing gloves, masks and hair nets. The tables that are kept available have bottles of sanitisers. Chatterhouse, which earlier used to have dining open on both storeys, has now limited it to first floor. The second floor is only functional as a smoking area. Staff is equipped with face shield, masks and gloves.
Umang Tewari founder of Local says that business that was already affected was further dented. “The third wave of pandemic has actually brought business down by 30 percent which was anyway on lower side. We are in wait-and-watch situation currently as there is surge in cases. However, with continuous decline in last week in cases, we are hopeful that we will cover up this 30 percent decline by the end of this month.”
“The footfall does not match our pre-lockdown numbers especially our indoor mall outlets. The business is badly affected there unlike our outdoor outlets at Cyber Hub and Khan Market where the numbers are similar to before. Even though our revenues are down 40% from October, the number of people dining in has been reassuring for us and we have seen an increase in takeaway orders as well. Seating capacity remains at 50%, our safety measures are as strong as before from the option of disposable cutlery, abundant sanitisers to extremely strict hygiene and safety protocols for our staff and an open kitchen concept. We have gone the extra mile to make our guests feel safe about dining in, says Varun Tuli, MD, Yum Yum Cha.
The third phase has coincided with the festive season, offering some respite. Vikrant Batra founder Café Delhi Heights says, “There was a promising rise in the business, but also occasional dips, so it’s been a journey of ups and downs.”
Elaborating on how the dine-in and delivery systems are supporting each other in keeping overall sales intact, Amit Bagga, co-founder Daryaganj, says,“Our sales have remained the same — the only difference being that the contribution of home deliveries has gone up. The sales have remained the same. If earlier we had 80% from dine-in and 20% from deliveries, now its 65-35%.”
Seeing an upward graph in sales and the number of people willing to venture out, Akshay Anand, co-founder, Ophelia, says, “Business in the third wave is definitely better than business in the first phase. Approximately 45-50% of the revenue is back and is likely to go higher in month of December. Almost 50% of the population has experienced Covid directly or indirectly and have realised that the recovery rate is really high. Our restaurants are following complete SOPs given by the government and are really safe for the diners.”
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- A PCR call was received at around 1 am at Tughlaq Road police station reporting that some people were shouting ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans near Khan Market metro station