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Hit by slump? ‘Happy hours’ are here

Bars and restaurants offer special lunch packages, discounts on drinks to attract customers careful about splurging, reports Naomi Canton.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2009 01:55 IST
Naomi Canton
Naomi Canton
Hindustan Times

At Bootleggers in Colaba, a 28-year-old man was drowning his sorrows over a drink during ‘happy hours’ in the weekend.

He had been fired from his banking job ten days ago.

“At first I thought it was just the people in banking for whom the world was coming to an end,” he said. “But now it’s spreading to retail and it’s only going to get worse.”

Nearby, Tim Rennie (44), a British expat, was enjoying a glass of wine. A year ago he used to frequent upmarket Indigo, but now he admitted he had changed his idea of what he wanted to spend on a night out. “I used to think of rupees as Monopoly money, but not anymore,” he said. “The UK economy is so bad you feel you have to be careful with your money even in India because you don’t know when you are going to have to go back.”

It is to lure the global slowdown-hit clients like these that bars and restaurants across the city have started offering discounts on drinks, and special lunch packages.

“Everyone in south Mumbai has seen a dip in sales of 20 to 30 per cent compared to last year,” said Kumar Patel, partner at Bootleggers. “But happy hours has increased our turnover by about 30 to 40 per cent.”

On Monday afternoon, Pop Tates in Andheri was packed. The manager Cajetan Mendes said their sales were down 15 to 20 per cent from last year because people were worried about a recession, but their popular happy hours meant they were still nearly full.

“There are less people going out because of the recession and people are looking for value,” said Vikram Mehta, partner at Mint N Ice in Juhu.

Upmarket Henry Tham has also just introduced an extended happy hours.

First Published: Mar 17, 2009 01:53 IST