Hospitality industry eagerly waits for the decision on the new unlock phase in Maharashtra

Hospitality industry eagerly waits for the decision on the new unlock phase in Maharashtra

The restaurant industry is the second most employment provider in India. However, the industry has suffered a lot amidst the five-month-long coronavirus outbreak and the ongoing lockdown.  While the guidelines for the next unlock phase are expected to be announced soon, officials hope that restaurants in Maharashtra can be given a green light to operate, in this phase.

As per reports, many restaurants are currently operating on the Food Delivery model, however, not many are breaking even or making profitable revenue. Moreover, no bailouts or financial assistance is being offered for the sector, due to which, the sector is suffering a major loss.

Talking about the issues faced by the restaurants, Shivanand Shetty, President, AHAR (Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association) said, “We are facing acute shortage of labour as many of them have gone back to their respective states. Some of them would like to return but are waiting to hear from the Maharashtra Government on date of reopening of restaurants and also for train services to resume. Restaurateurs are frustrated since they are dealing with almost nil cash flow for the past five months. We will follow the SOPs for reopening of our businesses so that our customers can dine in a secured and safe environment but as we have been left to fend for ourselves it will take a long time for us to get back on track. 

Shivanand Shetty, President, AHAR 

Talking about the incentives that are being taken by other governments Shetty shared that the example of the UK where the government is paying 50 per cent of the bill if the people opted for dining out. He goes on to elaborate, “At first, the government could have initiated a staggering lockdown in which preliminary actions could have been taken by restaurateurs to prepare themselves. Additionally, basic support pay for the affected employees would have been very helpful for our industry as it might have prevented the displacement of migrant workers at large. A financial bailout package exclusively for hospitality industry should have been announced by the government which shall also provide with working capital and loans at low cost and which could have been availed instantly by the restaurateur”.

Having said that Shetty is very optimistic that as soon as the restaurants open doors, consumers will flock back in. He adds that there might be some short term reluctance which can be tackled by the industry at large. Gaining consumers' confidence shall be the primary motive of the industry. He also informed that AHAR as an association is working towards this goal and will be printing various pamphlets that indicate the SOPs and safety practices adopted by restaurants so that the customers can feel relaxed and enjoy their food.

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