From prior online bookings to menus over phones, from in-car dining service to minimal contactless serving, city eateries are devising new ways to serve customers while stopping the spread of Covid-19, as they open shop again from June 8 onwards.
Many outlets taking up 120 square feet, which are bound to get congested even with half their seating capacity are also trying to find ways to stay in business.
The High Street cafe in Sector 35 which has four popular outlets running from 1,000 square feet space- Burger Grill, Uncle Jacks, Pizza kitchen, Mrs Wings will be starting “In car dining service.” As opposed to 40 people earlier, only four will be allowed to sit inside the café now.
“We have to think of the safety of our customers and our staff as well. So, we have displayed phone numbers where people can tell us their car number and place the order with the staff. A staff member will deliver their food in the car. So, safety is ensured at both ends,” said Vipul Dua from the High Street.
“We are still encouraging the concept of takeaways and online orders. A table is put up outside the cafe where people can collect their orders from. Zomato and Swiggy delivery personnel are not allowed inside and have to collect orders from outside too,” he added.
Dilsher Sukhija, who runs various outlets in the city, stated that they have done away with concept of “longest menu with 100 dishes” at their outlet, Dastan in Sector 7. “We are introducing this concept of online booking of seats for dining and we will have the concept of daily special menus now which will have fresh produce,” said Dilsher.
People choosing to dine in at the café will be provided menus on their phones. “Guests can scan the QR code and they will get menus over their phone itself. We have decided to have a round of sterilisation after one round after service and will adjust the timings and rounds accordingly,” he added.
At Hibachi in Sector 8, Sukhija said they will have a seating capacity of 20 people against 40 seats. “We have decided to remove the tables that have to be left vacant to maintain distancing. All the cutlery will go through sterilisation chambers also. Guests will also have an option to choose if they want disposable cutlery,” he said.
Meanwhile, some hotel owners in Sector 26 chain decided to not open, while others were concerned about loss of revenue.
Ankit Gupta, President of the Chandigarh Hospitality Association said, “Alcohol is an integral part of the guests’ demand list and as bars will remain shut, many of our members especially those in Sector 26 have decided not to open their establishments.”
He added, “We do welcome the guidelines of the government. They are practical and even allow and buffet to be served with social distancing. However, time is a deterrent. The night curfew begins at 9 pm, which is when guests usually start arriving.”
Gupta also said that due to this, people will have to start reaching the restaurant early. “For restaurant to close at 9 pm we will have to take the last order by 7.30 pm so that staff leaves around 8.15 pm. It is going to be a tough situation but let’s see how it goes,” he said.
MPS Chawla, owner of Hotel Altius said, “We will just analyse the SOP and then decide if we have to open or not, because business won’t pick up immediately and we have to pay fixed charges too.”
Restaurant owners said that they may use disposable paper menus which can be discarded after a single use. They have also been advised to use paper napkins instead of cloth napkins.
Abhay Jagat who runs the Bagpackers cafe chain said that they will take a call once the team is ready. “We are studying the SOP after which we will take a call. It will be a slow process as one has to see what all is required as per the guidelines. June 8 is not a personal deadline and we will decide only once the entire team is ready for it,” he said.
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