Even though the government has allowed restaurants and hotels to open up for food takeaway orders, many establishments in Pune have decided to wait and watch since business remains below 20 per cent of what it was before the lockdown.
“The small stalls or restaurants who sustain mainly on takeaway can survive but sit-in establishments can’t operate like this,” said Ganesh Shetty, president of Pune Restaurants and Hoteliers Association (PRAHA). He added that just 20 per cent of food establishments have opted to reopen for takeaways.
Staff availability is also a concern for restaurants as most of their employees, comprising migrant workers, have left for their home states. “The establishments that are open for takeaways are the ones who still have some of their staff left – else there is hardly any establishment with staff left in Pune,” Shetty added.
Kaustubh Naik, proprietor of Retox – a chain with outlets in Pune and Mumbai, had decided against opening for takeaways. “We did the mathematics and it simply did not add up. Instead, we are now preparing to open up after July and working on how to implement social distancing in our establishments,” he said.
Aniruddha Patil, founder of Pune Eat Out, said that while most small to medium eateries may achieve up to 70 per cent of their usual sales, experience-centric eateries and pubs will struggle to do even 20 per cent of their normal business with takeaways. “To me, there is a direct relation between opening of offices and other businesses. Apart from being a recreational activity, restaurants are also a necessity for many customers. Once work, commute, and other elements of life restart, people will have less time at hand to cook and manage their homes. More people will get jobs as businesses reopen, adding to their incomes as well,” he said.
Patil added that most housing complexes don’t allow delivery boys beyond entry gates. Also, most colleges are shut and students have returned to their hometowns, which has affected eateries, he added.
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