New Year did start on a happier note for restaurant business across top cities in India. Most restaurants in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Kolkata saw a surge in dine-in numbers as well as there was high demand for take away and delivery orders. Though, for Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and parts of Bengaluru where curfew was imposed, dine-in was little low as people preferred staying at home rather than venturing out for dinner.
“The month of December was quite promising for us. In April, when lockdown was done in March, we were at 10 per cent of our monthly sales. In December we saw it coming back to 80% to that of pre-covid time, shared Sagar daryani, CEO & Co-Founder, Wow! Momo for whom December was the first month where they have broken even and made profits. “In cities like Goa and Kolkata the business saw a boom because there was no night curfew but in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Chennai where night curfew was imposed and in Bengaluru where the cops were being pro-active business was not upto the mark but gradually people are coming out of the fear-cycle. We have managed to come back to 80% of the pre-covid numbers,” he added.
Also, delivery for the QSR chain was at 25% of the total business, post the lock down it has became 65% of the total business. But at the moment it is around, 45 % of the total business. “Delivery continues to be a very promising factor for the business growing. Customers also want to order food from the places where they know food safety, hygiene parameters will not be compromised and this is the time when brand recall is very important,” added Daryani.
Similarly, most restaurants in Delhi-NCR remained fully occupied till late on Thursday night and also for the lunch on Friday.
“Although we were a little unsure about the New Year’s Eve this year but we were totally sold out and in fact did more business than last year. Guests were more conscious about the hygiene part this year and were more responsible party goers,” pointed Vishal Anand, Director, Moonshine Food Ventures who has seen a 5 per cent extra sales as compared to the last year.
Similarly, Chef Om Nayak of The Pasta Bowl Company who runs the restaurant at one of the top mall in Gurgaon saw a house packed with diners. For him, he saw a rise in business between 10-15 per cent as compared to the last year. “The restaurant business was at par or slightly more than the last year but there were more of deliveries than dine-in. The average order value was also high and we never expected such a huge value," he added by claiming that they had a great lunch footfall and was pretty content to see that things are moving around.
However, dine-in business in Pune and Mumbai was not that appealing. Though, restaurants were expecting a recovery from the New Year’s Eve, most restaurants could only do 70-75 per cent of their original numbers.
“Since the state government has introduced a mandatory curfew from 11 pm to 6 am from 23rd December to 5th January, we have been able to do only about 70% of our original number. Because of the curfew, guests come in for early dinners,” said Praful Chandawarkar of Malaka Spice where most of the guests walked- in from 8 pm - 10 pm.