The Central government’s decision to discontinue Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has hit the restaurant business quite hard. Most of the restaurants in the city saw lesser footfalls, while some turned back customers who refused to give change. Shekhar Mirpuri, owner of Chandni Chowk’s Up and Above restaurant, said his business took a significant hit as most cash-paying customers were told directly at the entry to pay exact change or ensure cashless transactions.
“Our business is definitely slower than usual but the true picture is expected to emerge in the next two days,” he said.
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Pradeep Bandal, cashier at Shubham Restaurant, JM Road, said they are asking customers to pay exact change. “Only if the bill is close to Rs 500, we can give change but if someone gives us a note of Rs 1,000 for a Rs 40 bill, how can we arrange change for it?” he said.
Some restaurateurs also decided to close their shutters due to cash crunch. Henny Mirchandani, owner of Henny’s Gourmet Food Truck at Salunkhe Vihar, said he had decided to keep his food truck closed for two days. “It is as it is chaotic to handle so many customers with such a small team. And since our orders are usually of lesser value we deal with smaller denominations, so it would become impossible to operate,” he said.
While exact figures may not be known so early but Ganesh Shetty, president of Pune Restaurant and Hotel Association, said that about 10 to 15 per cent loss is estimated in the restaurant business in the next few days.
“In the long run, it is a great decision and we have asked our members to support it. For regular customers, we have asked members to accept the notes with a written assurance and visiting cards for the next two days but this depends on owners’ discretion. If not, they have the option of swiping credit or debit cards. And as the last resort, customers can be requested to withdraw cash from the ATM. As far as getting supplies for restaurant goes, at least that is not posing to be a problem as vendors are extending credit,” he said.
For some, the decision has also come as a blessing.
Neethi Jacob, owner of late night food delivery service Night Riders, said that she saw a positive effect on her business. “In fact most people want to get rid of their Rs 500 or Rs 1000 notes so they were ordering food last night and checking with us if we would accept. We are doing legitimate business and had no problem in accepting and hence it worked in our favour.”