Hyderabad restaurants wait for customers month after restrictions were eased
A random check in some popular restaurants in the city has revealed that the footfall has been abysmally low and they are finding it difficult to recover even the maintenance cost.Updated: Jul 06, 2020 18:37 IST
It has been nearly a month since restrictions on opening of restaurants were lifted as part of Unlock 1 strategy for Covid-19 pandemic, but many eateries in Hyderabad are yet to attract customers as the sharp increase in the number of cases has kept people away from visiting outlets.
A random check in some popular restaurants in the city has revealed that the footfall has been abysmally low and they are finding it difficult to recover even the maintenance cost.
For instance, The Paradise Restaurant at Secunderabad, which is known for its authentic Hyderabadi Biryani and kebabs, is one of the worst-hit in the city. The jaunt is a hot favourite of every VIP visiting Hyderabad: from Rahul Gandhi to cricketer Sachin Tendulkar to celebrities from Bollywood and Tollywood.
“During lunch and dinner hours, getting a seat was impossible because of the long queue of customers. The hotel staff used to give tokens to the customers asking them to wait for their turn. But now, the restaurant is struggling to lure customers, let alone VIPs,” said D Suresh D, a foodie who used to be a regular customer at the restaurant.
The group, which has a chain of restaurants all over the city, is now operating a single centralised kitchen, from where biryanis and kebabs are transported to different branches depending on the customer flow.
At one of its branches near Prasad’s Imax Multiplex, there were hardly five to six customers during the lunch hour. There were just two stewards taking the order and serving the biryani. “We just have biryani and a few chicken kebabs sir. Nothing more than that,” said one of the stewards.
Same is the case with popular vegetarian restaurant chain Minerva Coffee Shop. One of its branches at Somajiguda circle, which is generally packed with customers right from the breakfast time till late night dinner, is also getting hardly 15-20 customers a day.
Following the government order, these restaurants are strictly enforcing the Covid-19 norms, like thermal screening, using sanitisers, wearing masks, maintaining adequate gaps between the tables, no supply of tissue papers etc. “Yet, customers are scared to visit the restaurants. They are preferring take-aways rather than dine-in,” Prasad, manager of a restaurant in Punjagutta said.
Mohammad Abdul Majeed, owner of another popular chain of restaurants Pista House, says the total footfall does not exceed 20-30 in his restaurants even at the software hubs of Madhapur and Kondapur. “We are running the show just for the sake of maintenance. We don’t know when we can get back to the normal business,” he said.
He said if the same situation continues, it is certain that many of the restaurants would have to wind up their business and look for alternatives.