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24-hr tourist zones, 3 am curfew for bars

These are two of the many recommendations made in the India Food Services Report 2013; read on if you consider yourself a foodie or a nightlife lover.

india Updated: May 17, 2013 19:15 IST
Serena Menon
Serena Menon
Hindustan Times

These are two of the many recommendations made in the India Food Services Report 2013; read on if you consider yourself a foodie or a nightlife lover

On May 14, the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) launched the India Food Services Report 2013 in the presence of Maharashtra’s tourism minister, Chhagan Bhujbal. Towards the end of the event, he was asked a question about the baffling 52
permissions that are presently required to open a new joint in Mumbai. The politician directed the query to Jagdish Patil, managing director of Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, who assured us that the ordeal “was one of the main issues” they would address “within a month”. And though a month could mean a year in government-speak, Samir Kuckreja, president, NRAI, says real changes are expected (we’ve got our fingers crossed):

You have an ambitious list of suggestions. But how soon can we expect results?
It’s difficult for the government to give us an idea about the specific progress, but these are matters we’ve taken up with the state. We’ve filed these suggestions. They take time, but things do happen.

What does the current law say about women working in the F&B industry?
The issue with the current rule is about the timing; according to it, women can’t work late at night, which is why you don’t see any female bartenders. Maybe the government is finally waking up to the fact that this can be considered a form of discrimination against women. Even the drinking age rule is very odd; you can vote and get married before 25, but you can’t drink. We think these are unfair and old-fashioned laws that just haven’t been changed.

Why is service — an important area internationally — rarely addressed in India?
It’s a very important part; we do organise trainings and workshops. We are also reaching out to hospitality institutes to encourage
people to join restaurants instead of joining hotels; currently, more people (trained staff) join hotels.

India also doesn’t have a rating system like the Michelin star or Chef Hat. Is it due to the lack of consistency in quality?
There’s no rating system in India yet, but I don’t think it’s due to lack of consistency. I definitely see that happening in the next year or so.

Key suggestions
Identification of tourist zones based on which 24-hour non-alcohol (serving) restaurants and cafés should be permitted.
Time limits for bars and lounges to be made 3 am as allowed in 5-star hotels
Work timings for women employees may be changed to 11 pm
Online system for acquiring forms and renewal of licenses

Mumbai food services market worth Rs 6,975 cr
According to the India Food Services Report 2013, Mumbai “is a major food services market, with an estimated size of the organised market (chain and licensed standalone) at Rs 6,975 crore in 2013, which is a significant 10 per cent of the total India organised market size”. It is projected to grow to Rs 13,685 crore by 2018.

Have all stakeholders (representatives from the restaurants) on board for effective policy formulation
Strict adherence to Grade I, II and III categorisation of restaurants
Reduction in the number of licenses required (currently, 52 licenses are required to open a new joint)
Increasing the trade license period from a year to three years
Abolition of customer
(alcohol) permit system

First Published: May 17, 2013 12:54 IST