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Indian Restaurants Operate At 30% Pre-Covid Levels; Face Tragic Losses Amid Second Wave

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a major blow to the Food and Beverages industry of India. Small, medium and large scale restaurants, confectioneries and more had already borne the brunt of the nationwide lockdown in 2020. In the first half of 2021, they began to see a ray of hope to revive their businesses, but the second wave hit India again, pushing them back to their struggles. The localised lockdowns have brought restaurant dine-ins to a halt. With home deliveries and takeaways, restaurants are now operating with only 25-30 percent of pre-COVID levels.

Restaurants Battling To Survive Amid Tough Times
In the period between December 2020 and March 2021, restaurants had started recovering businesses, operating at around 75-80 percent of pre-COVID levels. But now, the eateries are assuming that even when the state governments permit dine-ins, with the pandemic fears remaining among customers, it might take time to regain full capacity. According to a Live Mint report, restaurant owner Zorawar Kalra has said, “Deliveries and takeaways are on the rise for sure and that is a very welcome scenario. However, they can never cover up for the dine-in loss. The economics of the restaurant business cannot ensure viability on the basis of delivery and takeaway alone.” One In Four Restaurants In India May Never Reopen Again

Restaurant Industry In India Employs Around 7 Million People
One of the most renowned buffet restaurants in Gurgaon, Indian Grill Room, which had been serving delectable buffet dishes amid a plush al-fresco ambience since the last ten years, had to start delivery services during lockdown 2020. When the restrictions were relaxed, it had launched an a la carte system as well to ensure social distancing. Now, after the imposition of new restrictions due to the second wave, it is continuing its home delivery services.

According to a 2020 Crisil Research report, the restaurant industry in India employes around seven million people, in which dine-ins account for 75 percent of the organised business. Restaurants had to take measures like pay cuts and employee layoffs to keep businesses afloat. Amid the COVID uncertainties, the National Restaurant Association of India has also requested landlords and mall developers for rent waivers.

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