"The restaurant industry has been facing continuous set back one after the other and everyday is a fight to survive. After the 10 pm deadline that almost killed 50% of our business, the 8 pm deadline has now entirely killed all of our dinner business. We are struggling to stay afloat at the moment. Though the home deliveries are allowed, it does not add the same volume to the business as much as dine in does,” said Praful Chandawarkar, Managing Director, Chiranjeev Restaurant & Foods Pvt Ltd.
With Maharashtra government imposing night curfew in the state from 8 PM till 7 am in the morning, the restaurants in the state fears a big loss and this may be bigger than the first lockdown that happened in the state wherein the sector saw almost 40% of the businesses being shut permanently.
The sector which was about to hit the sales back to the pre-covid time was firstly came to a halt after 10- PM deadline was announced earlier this month. But with 8 PM deadline restaurants are already drowning as they hardly saw any order coming in for dinner.
“More than 45% of restaurants and other hospitality projects had to close post the first lockdown. The proportion of fixed operating expenses like rentals, electricity, salaries & maintenance is quite heavy and with this curfew leading to little or no revenues; it is getting very difficult for restaurants to survive,” pointed Syesha Kapoor of Silver Beach Entertainment and Hospitality that operate restaurants like Silver Beach Café, Radio Bar, Nom Nom to name a few by adding that dinner service contributes to almost 70% of sales and shutting down by 8 pm everyday is as good as drowning.
However, home delivery of food will be allowed during the night but it may not be able to meet the same number as dine-in.
“We are now looking for innovative options to survive, such as starting breakfast operations. We are ready to cooperate with the government; however, this decision has had a disastrous effect on all types of hospitality businesses that were struggling to survive the pandemic and is definitely not the way ahead for our industry,” added Chandawarkar who is also running four cloud-kitchen brands in the Pune city.
If we see look at numbers, Pune and Pimpri region alone has seen around 300 restaurants being permanently shut during the first wave of the pandemic. But if we have any such lockdown or restrictions, the sector is apprehensive of losing another 400 restaurants. According to reports, the city boasts of over 8000 restaurants.
“A day of the 8pm closing deadline on Sunday resulted in close to Rs15 crore loss for restaurants in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad. The 8pm deadline is already a death knell for the restaurants as 80% of business happens in the evening. A lot of restaurants are contemplating closure as taking away evening business hours means that we cannot recover the costs, including overheads,” said Ganesh Shetty, president of the Pune Restaurants and Hoteliers Association (PRAHA) who believed that lockdown in such a scenario is not the answer.
Hence, restaurants are now extending their operational hours or are entering into the breakfast segment to overcome the losses.
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