Shadow of Omicron on Christmas, New Years biz for restaurants


Several catering companies have said they expect crowds to drop for these occasions, even as various state governments enforce the 50% capacity rule in restaurants. Some enterprising restaurants, however, offer take-out party boxes with set menus to compensate for the loss of income.

Until last week, restaurants said they had been inundated with New Years Eve reservation calls. However, with the new covid restrictions imposed, most people are now looking to avoid crowded places and s’ also refrain from going out.

Varun Tuli, General Manager of Yum Yum Tree Restaurant which runs chains in Delhi like Yum Yum Cha and Tbsp. said, with the regulations in place, they will cooperate and this, of course, will negatively affect income at all levels.

“Over our ten years of experience in the food industry, we have noticed more and more people stepping out for New Years celebrations except last year because of the pandemic. While we expect a good turnout this year, the new variant definitely leaves things hanging, ”he said.

Rakshay Dhariwal, founder of Pass Code Hospitality which operates restaurants in Delhi, Mumbai, Goa and Kolkata, said that with the implementation of new restrictions every few months, and with little clarity and support, the management of a business has become a huge challenge.

“It will definitely affect our income, especially during the holiday season when everyone wants to go out and when businesses are generating solid income,” he said.

“As the number of seats in restaurants is limited to 50%, the larger tables, which were mainly reserved for young people and couples, have now disappeared. As a result, the reduction in income is more than 50%, ”said Ajit Shah, partner of White Panda Hospitality which owns three restaurants in Delhi, including Kiko Ba and Tera Vita. To overcome this loss of revenue, the company plans to offer take-out boxes with special meals for these occasions.

Bars and pubs have a little more trouble. The government of Karnataka, for example, has banned DJs and special events in clubs and pubs. Hotels and restaurants will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity on New Years Eve. Geist, a Bangalore-based brewery that also opened for dinner last year, for example, has no plans to do so. New Year’s Eve event in its beer garden or tasting room, anticipating this situation. Instead, it will only have a special menu for the season and it will be business as usual.

In Mumbai, party planners should seek clear permission from the authorities and should not exceed a gathering of 200 people.

Akshay Anand, co-founder of Ophelia restaurant and bar, said the Delhi government’s decision was a setback for the capital’s hospitality industry. The resto-bar will operate at 50% of its capacity and will switch to pre-reservations rather than entertaining receptions as in previous years. Anand said they stay away from any sort of elaborate event.

“Everyone expected good business this year because last year we couldn’t do much. But omicron needs us to be careful. Both Christmas and New Years days are important to the restaurant and hospitality industry. disappointment because everything was coming back, “he said.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has banned Christmas and New Years gatherings. But Rahul Singh, founder of The Beer Café, said there was really no change. “Enforcement will be stricter now, as there has been some relaxation in the previous months. A new provision limiting Christmas and New Years events has been put in place, ”he said.

He added that it was a definite drag for the industry during its recovery. “Brands like ours have reached 120% of pre-Covid numbers and are on the verge of revival, as an industry. But it’s an imminent threat. We’ve already been beaten by two waves; and a third wave. was unexpected. But it is a global threat and we must all prioritize health and safety. The well-being of the economy depends on our well-being, “he added.

Many events have also been canceled, but and Paytm’s Insider, which have partnered with event planners to sell tickets, declined to comment for the story. However, Siddhartha Chaturvedi, secretary general of the Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA), said it was extremely disheartening to see these selective rules put in place to ban live events or DJ parties to target the elite. urban while several other markets and crowds gatherings are permitted.

“As it stands, much of our business involving international travel and artists is out of the question. But it is disappointing to see domestic business operations also disrupted, ”said Chaturvedi, who estimates losses due to cancellations in Delhi and Karnataka only would amount to a few crores, besides impacting many ways. subsistence. The association now closely monitors the mandates of states like Goa.

Sharad Madan, co-founder and director of Bel Cibo Hospitality which operates Imperfecto restaurants in NCR Delhi, said: “Considering we have already gone through two national blockages where restaurants have had to pay rents to owners, maintenance shopping centers, employee wages, a 50% cap will wreak havoc in the industry and result in heavy losses. “

Six of the company’s events were canceled due to new DDMA rules on gatherings which resulted in large losses and refunds, he added.

The five-star Hyatt Regency chain in Delhi is not hosting any New Year’s events or parties this year and has canceled its gala night. However, it will continue with its catering packages at 50% of its capacity.

(Suneera Tandon & Lata Jha contributed to this story)

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