After facing the maximum disruption to their businesses in the past two years, restaurants are not fearing a hit to their operations this time around from the current surge in Covid cases. The main reason for this could be the government no longer imposing lockdown or similar restrictions in keeping with the rise in infections. Instead, it advises people to follow Covid norms and expects businesses also to advise the same to their customers.
A total of 8,084 new Covid-19 cases were recorded in the last 24 hours, the ministry of health and family welfare said in a statement on Monday.
According to Satyajit Dhingra, chief regional officer (north) at Mumbai-based Impresario Handmade Restaurants, the company’s business has remained steady even with the infections rising. “We are taking our learning from the past two years and providing a safe dining experience for all our patrons as well as staff,” Dhingra said.Impresario owns restaurant brands like SOCIAL, Anti SOCIAL, Smoke House Deli, Salt Water Cafe, Souffle S’il Vous Plait, Slink & Bardot, Prithvi Cafe and Mocha. The company has over 60 outlets across 18 cities. It has already gone past pre-Covid levels in terms of revenues.
“I do not foresee any immediate impact. The numbers are low and the casualties are even lower. But we will closely watch the situation and follow any guidelines that are released by the government,” said Sanjay Vazirani, CEO, Foodlink F&B Holdings India.
Vazirani said that the pandemic has made the food and beverage industry reorient itself not only in terms of product offerings but also the style of service. “There has been a sharp rise in the use of technology such as direct online order engines, mobile food apps, QR codes for contactless ordering, etc, during the last two years,” he added. Mumbai-based Foodlink F&B Holdings India owns restaurant brands like Glocal Junction, China Bistro and India Bistro.
Kolkata-based Chowman Hospitality, which owns restaurant brands like Chowman, Oudh 1590 and Chapter 2, has witnessed an average month-on-month growth of 10-12% in revenues since January 2022.
“Because of the lesser intensity of Covid this time, we have been operating smoothly. Moreover, in the last few months, we have introduced more Chowman outlets in Kolkata and a flagship store in Bengaluru alongside two more in New Delhi. This has also benefitted our sales growth hugely,” said Debaditya Chaudhury, MD, Chowman Hospitality. Chaudhury observed that everyone is now more aware and equipped to handle the situation, unlike before.The revenues of Bengaluru-based VRO Hospitality, which owns bars and restaurants like Badmaash Lounge, Hangover, Plan B, Nevermind, Cafe Noir, Taki Taki and Tycoons, have grown by around 300% since January 2022 with the restrictions easing and footfall rising at outlets. “Just like the Covid wave that hit the country and the constant rise and drop in cases, we will consistently witness a fluctuation in the revenues generated and utilised,” said Sharath Rice, co-founder and director, VRO Hospitality.