Will unlock 1.0 bring any relief to the restaurants and mall owners who have already suffered huge losses due to the lockdown?
As part of the relaxed norms under unlock 1.0, the government has allowed restaurants to open from June 8. But not all restaurants may open.
National Restaurants Association of India’s President Anurag Katriar told Moneycontrol that not all restaurants may open on June 8 as some are yet to take a call on the resumption of services.
Several outlets are short of labour because of which restaurants are not able to restart operations. With coronavirus cases rising every day, owners are also sceptical if customers will turn up.
Additionally, the rent issue with mall owners is still unresolved so restaurants in malls will also not open.
Katriar said restaurants are in discussions to restructure deals on revenue-sharing arrangements with mall owners to mitigate risks arising from a decline in footfalls due to COVID-19.
Most tenants are looking for a full rental waiver during the lockdown period and a possible pure revenue share deal until December, or for that matter, the entire financial year.
“The restaurants in malls have asked for a rent waiver for the lockdown period plus a revenue-sharing agreement which is not yet agreed by mall owners. So, even when malls are open restaurants within those malls will not open,” Katriar said.
Restaurants and mall owners have already suffered huge losses due to the lockdown of almost three months. So, operating restaurants at pre-contracted rents will only add to the losses of restaurants.
Katriar is of the view that malls attract the best footfalls, thus typically have higher rentals also. Unfortunately, under the current environment, malls may not be able to get the traffic to justify the higher rentals.
The restaurants that are opening will have to strictly follow social distancing and hygiene norms.
A Udupi restaurant Shobha located at Breach Candy has spaced out the seating area to maintain social distancing.
“In our non-AC section we used to have six tables, now we just have three tables so that we can space out seating between customers,” said Jitendra Shetty, owner of Shobha.
Not only Udupis but even QSRs have geared up to reopen with sanitisation and social distancing norms.
For instance, McDonald’s has prepared a 42-point checklist to comply with government guidelines. The focus is on maintaining hygiene and maintaining social distancing, especially in the dining area.For the dine-in areas, India's QSR giant has designated social distancing markings for all customers at self-ordering kiosks, front counter, takeaway window and McCafé counter. Alternate table & chair seating arrangement will be done to ensure social distancing while dining.