Many Eateries Remain Shut in Delhi: As patrons keep away, restaurants wary, delay licence renewal

Delhi _Restaurants_Image

According to the Indian Express, Even as restaurants and eateries were allowed to reopen in June, more than 60% licenced eateries in areas such as Hauz Khas, Green Park, Greater Kailash in South Delhi and 75% in areas like Model Town in North Delhi continue to remain shut as they are yet to renew health/trade licences. Renewal costs anywhere between INR 10,000 and INR 30,000, depending upon seating capacity. Senior civic body officials attributed it to some eateries having to pay high rent despite remaining shut for close to three months amid the Covid pandemic. Some managed for a few weeks but could not sustain it as business didn’t pick up, said officials.

Restaurants are still grappling with decreased sales, staff shortage and few dine-in customers. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, many restaurants are yet to commence dine-in facilities and are relying on takeaways to drive their business. Of 1,600 licenced restaurants in South Delhi, 40% have applied for licence renewal, despite the South MCD granting a four-month extension till July, while just 25% of 800 eateries have applied to the North MCD. East MCD, meanwhile, has allowed renewal of licences till March 2021.

“The response has not been very encouraging. Some restaurants shifted to takeaway but couldn’t make enough profit,” said a senior South MCD official. Satyendra S Sarna, president of the Hauz Khas Village traders’ association, who also owns three restaurants — Lama Kitchen, Kaffeine and Recycle Café — said there is no walking traffic at present.

“Nobody wants to bring their families as they are scared. Unlike burger joints or sweet shops, eateries like ours have been most affected because people here come not just for eating but also to walk around,” he said. Over 20 restaurants are shut and only small eateries serving snacks are surviving, said Sarna: “It is basic math – if operating cost is over 50% and business is less than 20%, you keep the shop closed.”
At Green Park, Raja Puri of Drums of Heaven said he has not opened his restaurant and is running only delivery and takeaway services: “Rules like closing time of 10 pm and not serving liquor has further hit business.”

CAIT general secretary Praveen Khandelwal said: “Customers are very sensitive to eating outside now, so all restaurants are under great stress; the government needs to think about them.”
(Source: The Indian Express)

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