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Restaurateurs fear the collapse of hospitality industry

Due to the newly introduced lockdown restrictions, the hospitality industry in the city is back in troubled waters
Restaurateurs fear the collapse of hospitality industry
Published on Apr 12, 2021 01:43 PM IST
ByAamir Momin

With the increasing rise of Covid-19 cases in the state of Maharashtra, the state government declared a curfew and lockdown that demands restriction in movement and keeping shops and business shut. In this, the hospitality industry has been directed to open only for delivery and takeaways, that too between 7am to 8pm till April 30, 2021.

Restaurant owners around the city are showing concern with new imposed rules and restrictions and fear complete closure of their businesses.

Aman Talreja, partner, owner of Murphies and Chef Ambar Rode, founder, Brasserie Cinq say that he restaurant industry was just starting to recover and is hit again by the sudden decision of the lockdown. They add that they were not given any benefit of payment advance excise fees for the next financial year and had to pay the full amount on 31st March.

Rode adds, “Most of the staff belongs to low income backgrounds and without any savings, they will find it difficult to survive this wave. If this continues, the hospitality industry will collapse.” Hospitality industry isn’t the only reason for the spread of the virus.”

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Talreja says, “there has been no communication to minimise losses or compensatory benefits from the government since the pandemic has started. We got one days notice which obviously caused a lot of loss with stock in hand. If the city is on till 6 PM, why should restaurants be completely shut?”

Rajjeet Chandra, Director- Kara Asian questions,“I don’t understand how are other public places which are completely in an uncontrolled environment more safer than restaurants which are in a relatively much more controlled environment? We sanitize, our staff is fully trained compared to open markets that are riskier.”

Kathiravan Govindaraj (Pricol Gourmet) of Savya Rasa says, “the last quarter of 2020 gave hope for the year ahead at the cost of pay cuts, closure of establishments, unemployment. We were given no financial relief whatsoever to minimise the brunt. Restaurants that continued to embrace the new normal, adapted their operation to the Covid protocols which also meant higher cost of service. The industry that employed more than 20 lakh people in the country was reduced by almost 40% of the staffing. Although there was a boom in the food delivery space, with higher commission and lower revenue, it still remains as a sustenance.”

Govindaraj adds that the hospitality industry has been viewed as one of the most unorganised sectors whereas he argues at least more than 70% of establishments have their Covid protocols in place, with every touch point taken care of.

Vaishali Karad Owner at Paashh Cafe and Saurabh Patwardhan of Kimaya brewery say that they understand the seriousness of the situation and completely stand with the government in the attempt to curb the spreading of the virus.

Patwardhan adds, “Although, we have not even recovered from last year’s losses and have been operating at 50% capacity. Our suppliers, personal staff and brewers, the small farmers from whom we buy grain for brewing are all dependent on us. One more lockdown will break us completely.”

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