‘Too little, too less’: Restaurant owners in Delhi not keen on 1 extra hour at night | Delhi News

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NEW DELHI: Most restaurateurs were eagerly awaiting news of the lifting of the nighttime curfew. They accepted the need to maintain a seating limit, but hoped the restricted opening hours would be relaxed. The Delhi Disaster Management Authority’s decision on Friday therefore disappointed them. They only got an extra hour with the start of the nighttime curfew moved from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Restaurant owners say lifting the nighttime curfew completely would have allowed them to extend service hours and save dinner time, which accounts for up to 70% of their income. Moreover, the very word “curfew” deterred people from going out to dinner, they argued. “We were hoping for the end of the night curfew. Moving it to 11 p.m. doesn’t help increase dinner business,” said restaurateur Zorawar Kalra of Massive Restaurants. He said lifting the curfew in Delhi on Bangalore and Mumbai lines would help the battered industry.
Bobby Gujral of Wok in the Clouds said that while outlets remained closed, overhead costs such as rentals, salaries and other bills continued to rise. After being allowed to resume business, he had hoped for the easing of restrictions, explaining that it had taken months to recover the losses suffered from the forced closure of even a month. While establishments like Gujral’s hope an extra hour will boost dinner sales, with people getting used to eating early since last year, high-energy bars and clubs are wringing their hands in exasperation.
The National Restaurant Association of India had written to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and MP CM Manish Sisodia asking them to lift the curfew. He had pointed out that many restaurants had closed permanently in the past two years and cost many jobs. Others, which were due to open in mid-December last year ahead of a booming festive season, have delayed operations due to rising costs and diluted investments.
NRAI members had been advocating for reassurances of Delhi’s new excise policy, such as being allowed to operate until 3 a.m. and meeting a reduced drinking age of 21, to be put in place. work immediately to stimulate the finances of the industry. But the ongoing restrictions have left many operators demoralized.
Maneck Malhotra of Bayswater Consultants, which has helped new restaurants rent space after the second wave of Covid, said the restrictions were impacting investment, new signings, market revival and, in the together, the city’s economy, not just the food sector. He noted that consumer sentiment was strong and businesses were eager to offer new spaces. For that to happen, however, he said, restrictions must be lifted.
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