From the road side noodles shops to biriyani points and other restaurants in Vizag, it seems business is picking up through take-aways. Mujibur Rehman, Owner of Bombay Restaurants in Vizag feeling elated in the business of parcel Take Away and home deliveries instead of dine in. It’s safe for the customers. He also admitted that diminished business over the last three months meant difficulty in maintaining the staff. “We have around 35 people and they were all given 70 per cent salaries during the lockdown period from internal accruals, he said.
Staring at a bleak future, despite getting the green signal to open, the only way to fetch some revenue right now has been through home deliveries and takeaway. Burdened by huge fixed costs, restaurants are going all out to quell customer sentiments by launching measures like contactless delivery to ensure that COVID-19 does not spread. Despite this, some restaurant owners lamented that customers are still apprehensive and business is nowhere close to profitable. They realise that it would take a while before they see customers walking in. Their hopes now hinge on the delivery business improving.
However, after restrictions were eased, we could garner 50% of the staff. “Business has been hit as it is only my regular customers from the residential colony who are ordering in and coming to pick up orders. But at least with takeaway, I have been able to pay the salaries of my employees. Something is better than nothing,” said Mr. Rehman, who operates three restaurants each at Daba gardens, Ram Nagar and Near Jyoti Theatre. Business had picked up marginally since Unlock 1.0 was announced. “Weekends are comparatively better than those in the lockdown. But it is nothing close to pre-lockdown days,” Mr. Rehman added.
But restaurant like Sai Ram Parlour near Dimond Park business is as usual. We are running with few people working for us every day. This arrangement has been done to limit the chances of getting infected. Full PPE kits are also provided to the kitchen staff and the entire restaurant is sanitised every third day,” said Manager of Sai Ram Parlour near Dimond Park.
“In Vizag, eating out is not luxury but habit. With businesses suffering in a big way, people aren’t dining out as much as they used to earlier. Their pockets are empty which has led to restaurants sales going down. They are worried about their health and safety too. But we are hopeful that there will be an increase in the business by 10 to 30 per cent; not a major jump, said owner of another restaurant in MVP Colony.
For street corner Noodles shops, relaxations given some cheer. With precautions including masks and sanitisers are in place, we are able to attract some business, said Rama Rao owner of Noodels point at Thatichetlapalem. Earlier, I would earn about ₹4000 to 5000 in a day. Now i get ₹3000. I just hope to manage basic expenses like food,” he said.
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