For much of March, the threat of COVID-19 grew as the infection spread. On March 16, that problem became very real for thousands of restaurant operators and millions of employees, beginning a period unlike anything the industry has ever seen. The business may never be the same for these restaurant and bar operators.
Restaurants, bars and night clubs are closed in India for more than a month now in the wake of the spreading coronavirus outbreak. The industry is going through a very tough time where they are unsure about the recovery as it will be very difficult for them to recover through this loss.
Looking at global scenario, we have seen that restaurants in top country’s like the US, China and the Middle East are already facing a hit wherein we have seen many restaurants either closing their door or re-branding themselves to a compact and feasible model to overcome corona hit.
"Nightlife industry or any restaurant is all about socializing and networking. But due to the current pandemic, social distancing is one the precaution to be followed. There would be a lot of sectors which would be affected but sectors like F&B and travel would be directly affected,” shared Rachit Goel - Owner of Vu-The PentHouse Bar, Bunta Bar as working with all the precautions to be taken like sanitizing the place, maintaining the social distancing, screening of all the customers, staff check would be a challenge for all the restaurants and Bars.
Adding to the same Taarun V Jain, Owner of Gourmet Hub and Legend Group said, “The Nightlife Industry will undergo vast change post Corona Lockdown. We are working on post-lockdown strategies. There will be a lot of precautionary measures which will be followed. People wouldn't be feeling safe to come at crowded night places. It will be really difficult to make people aware regarding the measures which the staff will be taking.”
The experts also believed that two metre table distance rule would be followed in the future. Overall hygiene and sanitisation needs to be followed. “It would take time, but sooner the situation will be fine cause people would want to party and dine out eventually,” added Jain.
According to experts, 90 per cent of the restaurants in the country are operated on lease of which 20 per cent of the organised restaurants are located in malls, and the remaining on high streets and commercial areas. Depending upon the format, restaurants pay anywhere between 15 and 30 per cent of their income towards rentals. Some restaurants pay an extra 5-6 per cent of CAM if they are located in malls. CAM costs can be as high as Rs 2.5 lakh per month for a 3,000-sq ft outlet. However, lease cost is the largest fixed cost component for a restaurant besides payroll, and energy expenses, which together account for 20-25 per cent of the overall costs.
For a large chain, the hit has been more severe as compared to standalone operators. Also, there is chances that approximately, 50 per cent restaurants will be shut post covid.
"No doubt it would be a difficult time, but we are trying our best to still remain connected with our customers through social media campaigns. We are already training our staff virtually regarding sanitisation and hygiene. We are working on a lot of strategies so that customers feel safe. Eventually we are planning to reduce the number of tables. As people continue to avoid crowded places post corona lockdown, the hospitality sector will encounter slow recovery,” added Arpan Gupta, Owner of An Ivory Region and Take Off Scarlet.