AS NARINDER Singh entered his sweet shop on Dandi Swami Chowk, empty shelves stared backed at him. Opening it up after 49 days, Narinder felt like he was starting ‘Kays Lovely Sweets’ from scratch.
“This is the same shop that used to having a variety sweets, savouries, everything from baked goods to dry fruits, candy, chat, samosas, gift items etc., We are opening after a gap of 49 days. In between we had opened only to dispose off the pending stock. Some was distributed to needy and the rest was destroyed as sweets are perishable,” said Narinder.
On Saturday afternoon, he made just four basic items — barfi, gulab jamun, laddoo, and ras malai.
“The first half of the day was spent cleaning. We also made cheese, khoya from dairy supplies which we purchased in the morning. We received a few orders. People are not eating out the same way they used to earlier. We will try to win back the people’s confidence in the coming days. It is hard, but life has to move on,” the sweet shop owner added.
Harish Kumar owns Haqiqat Sweets, located close to Narinder’s shop. “We spent all of Saturday cleaning the shop. We will be open tomorrow for home deliveries, but only of three basic items — gulab jamun, barfi and laddoo. In addition to this, we are making kulfis and our popular puri chole will be available on Sunday morning, for which people used to stand in queue. We will be making only 25 per cent of what we used to make earlier. People are hardly eating out these days.”
As per the Ludhiana DC’s order issued Friday evening, eateries, sweet shops, juice shops can open from 7 am to 7 pm Saturday onwards only for home deliveries. Most eating joints opened for clean up operations on Saturday while a few delivered take away orders as well.
Mother’s Day orders
The silver lining for these eateries is ‘Mother’s Day’ celebrations, for which many are getting orders for cakes. Harijinder Singh Kukreja of ‘Hot Breads’ said, “We did not open on Saturday, but we will open on Sunday. Had to manage so many things apart from cleaning and following all health protocols. We got nearly 100 bookings of cakes for Mother’s Day, which is not even average of what Ludhiana used to order on normal days. However, we cannot expect normal days from day 1.”
Pankaj Khajuria from ‘Bansi Dhabha’ said, “We started deliveries on Saturday afternoon and till evening got only 8 orders. We have two dhabhas, one in Dugri and another near Shastri Nagar. As of now we are operating from Dugri branch. Only 7-8 people of UP and Bihar who are my old employees are working with me. We are teaching them how to cook wearing masks, which they are finding difficult, but will get used to in the coming days. As of now, even I am avoiding eating anything outside, hence I can understand that customers are also not too comfortable ordering food right now.”
Ludhiana city alone has over 3,000 restaurants and more than 300 sweet shops. Home delivery will be a new experience for many. As of now they say they don’t even need more than 30 per cent of the existing staff as only home deliveries are allowed.
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