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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Chandigarh’s cafes, small eateries regain business, even as Covid cases rise

Eatery owners in Chandigarh say that businesses in particular markets have really picked up and market places such as one at Sector 8 are witnessing so much rush that at times, people do not even find a place to stand at some outlets, due to high occupancy.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh | July 25, 2020 3:52:35 pm
Chandigarh cafes, Chandigarh business, chnadigarh coronavirus cases, covid news, Chandigarh news, Indian express Big hotels and restaurants are still finding it difficult to bring back crowds, which are mostly now visible in cafes.(Representational)

City’s cafeterias and small eating houses are regaining business post lockdown, even as a surge of Covid-19 cases is being recorded.

Eatery owners in Chandigarh say that businesses in particular markets have really picked up and market places such as one at Sector 8 are witnessing so much rush that at times, people do not even find a place to stand at some outlets, due to high occupancy. However, big hotels and restaurants are still finding it difficult to bring back crowds, which are mostly now visible in cafes.

Owner of four leading brands, including Uncle Jacks, The Pizza kitchen and Mrs Wings, Vipul says that the takeaway business and cafeterias have seen a boom. “Now, it is mostly the young crowd that can be seen around and thus, cafes and small outlets in Sector 8 market are receiving really good response,” Vipul says.

He adds, “Big restaurants and hotels like one I own- they are frequented mostly by families to dine in and families are not coming out much during these times. Rather, it is more of youngsters who can be seen outside and they prefer cafes or eating houses. The hotel I own is not getting that good a response, which Uncle Jacks has been getting.”

Dilsher Sukhija, who owns several eateries in the city, also says that families or elderly are not coming out and youngsters have taken the business in Sector 8 to a high. “There isn’t night life due to the timings, but during the day time we are hosting youngsters at our outlet in Sector 8. One will rarely find a family coming to eat out together because of the Covid situation,” he says.

Sukhija adds, “At the same time, takeaway business has also seen a good response. People are park their car outside the eatery, getting the food and eating in their cars. The eating business has really changed due to Covid.”

Meanwhile, the restaurants and eateries at Sector 26 are still receiving low response from customers. Many attribute it to the restrictions on bar facilities. “Sector 26 outlets were mainly for those coming to enjoy parties or bar facility and since both are not allowed, it is receiving a damp response,” a hotelier from sector 26 says. However, eating places like Ovenfresh and others are witnessing crowd, which was not a usual sight before the pandemic.

Rise in footfall at malls

Much like the city’s small eateries, Elante Mall is regaining its crowd despite the steep rise in Covid cases in Chandigarh. According to the mall management, the mall has reported an 18 per cent increase in footfall on weekly basis.

Elante reopened its doors to the public on June 8, during Unlock I. However, initially, the mall had suffered a deadlock with the food and beverages (F&B) outlet owners, who had said that they would not open their outlet until their rent issues are resolved. At present, over 70 per cent of F&B outlets have opened and are functioning.

The mall’s Hospitality and Corporate Affairs Executive Director Anil Malhotra says, “It has been over six weeks since we reopened the doors. We have seen around 18 per cent growth in footfalls week-on-week. We have measures in place which can help us keep a track of footfalls on a real-time basis, to ensure that the mall is not overcrowded and regardless, the MHA guidelines are being adhered to. Our conversions are over 90 per cent since reopening and most of the customers who are visiting the mall are walking out with shopping bags.”

Malhotra says that “with festivities around the corner, they are expecting the bonhomie to be more and together as a family we can unite and welcome good times.”

Restaurant General Manager at Nando’s, Atinder Singh says, “There is no denial from the fact that people will continue to turn towards food experiences as a means of comfort and sustenance in an otherwise uncertain world.”

“Since reopening, we have seen a surge in footfall and we are also recording over 20 per cent week-on-week growth in sales at our outlet. People are visiting with their family and friends,” says Ajay Kumar Nautiyal, Business Manager at Pirate of Grills.

The experience of going to malls and shopping may have changed drastically in recent times and that can be evidently seen in the way people are being cautious when they move out of their homes.

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