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BENGALURU: After the restaurants were closed for eating for almost two months, they opened their doors to customers on Monday. Although people only trickled in during lunchtime, the restaurateurs were actually surprised to find a larger number than expected. Hakuna Matata, a resto-bar in JP Nagar, saw over 15 guests eating at half past eleven. Another restaurant in southern Bengaluru Patios in Jayanagar had over 18 diners for lunch. Patios founder Nirav Rajani believes that after months of penned in, people are desperate to spend time outdoors.
âEighteen guests were a good start to the first day. People have been inside for about two months and are now looking for outdoor activities, âhe says, adding that not all of their employees are back to work as many of them are still in their hometown. Diner Druva N, a college student who had gone out for lunch with his friend after several months, agreed that he needed a new experience.
âWe are stressed about sitting at home and eating the same food. We missed that experience. So today, after a long time, my friend and I decided to be on our way, âhe says. The Vietnamese restaurant Hanoi in Indiranagar, owned by Rajani’s wife Diep Vu, did not open its dining room on Monday due to a lack of supplies. âMost of our ingredients like premixed ground coffee, rice paper and rice noodles are imported from Vietnam. The providers cannot deliver on time due to travel restrictions. We’re going to remove some of the exotic items from the menu.
This is to ensure there is no waste and I have a feeling that at this point people are not ready to spend large amounts on meals, âsays Vu, who also decided to cut the price of the dishes by 20 percent . Agrees with Arun Muragesan, GM of Hakuna Matata, a resto-bar that has also removed items from its menu for similar reasons. âWe removed items like anjal fish and tawa pomfret, which are slow moving and also fall into the expensive category,â he says, adding that only vaccinated employees are allowed to come to work. âOnly half of the workforce works every other day,â he says.
Although online shipments have skyrocketed, companies’ balance sheets are in a sorry state and will take at least six months to recover. Kuncheria Marattukalan, co-founder of Uru Brewpark, says: âThe night curfew and the ban on the sale of spirits are very detrimental to the industry. We usually had at least 500 guests on a Monday just before the lockdown. We were just 40 today. The next few months will be tough for us. It will take time to recover. “