The benefits of the sharp drop in liquor prices are not immediately passed on to diners, Kolkata restaurateurs said.
Any drop in the price of alcohol served in bars occurs after the “old stock” – bought at a higher price – has been used up.
Most people The telegraph spoke to said the rate was likely to decline around Christmas.
“The inventory was bought at the old rate. It will probably last until the second week of December. After that, we would certainly pass the benefits of the price cut on to our customers, ”said Anjan Chatterjee, an experienced restaurateur who owns over a dozen alcoholic outlets in the city.
“The excise department just announced the drop in prices. In the next few days we will carry out the specific calculations. There are several ways to extend the benefits to guests – cheaper drinks or 1: 1 deals on selected brands in the cocktail menu, ”said Chatterjee, owner of Mainland China, Oh! Calcutta, Riyasat and Hoppipola.
Rajiv Kothari, the owner of Bar-BQ on Park Street, also said the existing shares bought at a higher price would last for “three to four weeks.”
“At some point we would definitely pass the benefit on to customers, but we can’t do it right away,” he said.
The prices of several spirits brands in Bengal have fallen to a multi-year low after tax optimization by the state government. According to the preliminary figures, the dip will have a greater impact on bottles with country of origin (BIO). For example, a 750ml bottle of Chivas Regal Blended Scotch will cost Rs 3,500 under the new arrangements, up from Rs 5,400.
A 30ml Chivas Regal pen now costs around 500 rupees in a pub in South Kalkata. After the eventual break-in, it would cost a little less than Rs 450, the owner said.
Without the curbs at night, the old stocks would be used up faster, said several restaurateurs.
On paper, restaurants can be open until 11 p.m. from the start of the nightly curfew. But most restaurants close at 10:30 p.m. to give diners plenty of time to go home.
“The slot from 9 p.m. to midnight was the busiest for bars before the pandemic. We hope the government will allow some relaxation with the night curbs, ”said the owner of a bar in central Calcutta.
The restaurant owners are aware that unchanged prices can affect visitor frequency. However, selling alcohol from existing inventory at reduced prices would result in a greater loss. “We suffered a lot during the pandemic. Selling now doesn’t make sense. The new stocks will arrive by Christmas and we hope for a robust customer frequency, ”said Gaurav Karnani, owner of Grid, a resto-bar in Topsia.