Pune restaurant owners relieved as govt allows dine-in facility
Restaurant owners in the city have heaved a sigh of relief as the state government has agreed to allow restaurants to operate from the first week of October.
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray made the promise to a delegation of restaurant owners from Pune during an online meeting.
“Today we had a fruitful zoom meeting with the chief minister and his team regarding the reopening of dine-in facilities in restaurants. He has assured us that the restaurants will reopen in the first week of October,” said Ganesh Shetty, president, Pune Restaurants and Hoteliers Association (PRHA).
“We will be allowing 50 per cent of dine-in facility with 50 per cent staff. To operate at 50% will be a bit difficult for business, but its important to resume dine-in service. Also, the standard operating procedure (SOPs) issued by the chief minister’s office will have to be followed by the restaurants to ensure the safety of its patrons,” said Shetty.
“CM has also assured that the excise license fees will be revised on pro-rata basis against the balance operational months of the year 2020-21,”he said.
Pune has at least 8,700 big and small restaurants which are eager to start the business as in the last six month, they have suffered losses. As many as 20 per cent restaurants have shut business due to losses.
Since June 1, the state government had allowed only take away service at restaurants.
“We also need to check the response of the customers which will give us the idea of how to progress ahead with the business,” added Shetty.
“It will be a blessing for us as take away business is not giving us a good profit. People love to eat food in a restaurant ambience and profit will definitely increase,” said Rakesh Patil, owner of Devika Seafood restaurant, Thergaon.
With most of the employees which have gone back to their hometowns, restaurants may face staff crunch time while restarting the dine-in facility.
“We will be operating with 50 per cent staff. So restaurants who have employed locals will not have a problem. Most of the staff will be coming back and our strength will improve gradually. Same is the case with waiters and once the business gets going things will fall in place,” added Shetty.
Food courts gear up to resume business
Mall owners in the city have welcomed the assurance of the chief minister as food courts are one of the major attractions in the city.
“It is good news. I want to thank the government finally for taking the decision as since the last six months it was closed. People who were associated with this industry like chefs, helpers, waiters, suppliers and vendors all were impacted badly and it will be a big relief for all of them,” said Arun Arora, centre director, Phoenix Marketcity.
“I am sure with this start all the staff who have gone to native places will return back. The business will revive gradually and once the government is confident that all restaurants are safe then there will be definitely more relaxations than the current permission of 50 per cent,” added Arora.