Don’t hang out here

Hindustan Times | ByRochelle Pinto, Mumbai
Feb 24, 2011 03:14 PM IST

Popular Bandra haunt JustAroundTheCorner resurfaces in a new avatar called EatAroundTheCorner. Sports a cover charge to keep the bench-warmers out

If the old-favourite Bandra eatery Just Around The Corner (JATC) was your place to kick back and relax with friends, its new avatar, Eat Around The Corner, is likely to shock you.

HT Image
HT Image

Where a friendly picket fence once stood, now stands an imposing wall, which forces you to enter the al fresco dining area through a wooden doorway. What’s even more surprising is that you’re asked to pay Rs. 250 as a cover charge — probably the only restaurant in the city that does so. While most regulars have been turned off by the new concept, Sanjay Narang, owner of the property, is not worried.

“The focus of JATC had become a hang-out spot, where people would sit all day and order two coffees while they conducted their meetings and interviews on the side. That was not a sustainable business option for us,” Narang says, explaining that the move is to deliberately weed out the bench-warmers, “We thought of refining the concept and bringing the focus back to food. The Rs. 250 cover charge is there for a short time so that people get the point. I couldn’t think of a better way to do it. And we’re upfront about it.”

Narang insists that the response has been positive, and the one’s who are complaining are the ones they want out. “The people who hate the new look are the ones who used to sit there for hours. We don’t want them back. We’re still offering excellent value for money as compared to our competitors.” Ask him why someone who might want just a salad or sandwich (Rs. 85 onwards) should be forced to shell out Rs. 250 just to enter and Narang responds, “The cover charge is only for an initial period. Also, we remove the charge for the late night crowd, who might just be swinging by to get a dessert. It would be unfair to charge them cover.”

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