Chelo kebabs are back, pepperoni pizzas have returned and biryani is beckoning yet again. With more restaurants reopening their kitchens, home delivery has stepped up across Kolkata. A cluster of Park Street restaurants has returned to online food delivery platforms, several in central Kolkata, too, are gearing up for home delivery, which, they believe, is going to be a lifeline even after the lockdown is lifted and restaurants start functioning with curbs.
Bar-B-Q and Oasis on Park Street have joined Wow! Momo and Wow China on food delivery platforms, along with Oh! Calcutta and Mainland China, and sales have been “moderate to good”. “Orders are pretty brisk on weekends and they have been steadily going up, though weekdays are not as good. We expect the volume of orders to rise,” said Oasis owner Pratap Daryanani, adding that chelo kebabs have been a hot favourite. “Kebabs and fish fries, too, are being ordered frequently, though we aren’t preparing continental food now,” he said.
Orders have been good for pizza and biryani over the past three weeks, according to an online delivery platform. One of them is conducting a survey among users to check the reasons behind the spurt in orders. The latter have been mailed a set of questions that seek to find out if users were being driven by craving or were finding it tiring to cook at home.
Hotel and Restaurants Association of Eastern India secretary Sudesh Poddar felt home delivery will help sustain restaurants for several weeks even after the lockdown is withdrawn. “We will be forced to follow a set of norms that will greatly reduce footfall and affect our profits. So, online orders will be the key now,” said Poddar, adding that many eateries who had so far stayed away from delivery are contemplating joining online platforms. “So far, even I had stayed away from it, but I could be reopening my kitchen soon. Food-ordering habits have changed over the past two months and people are now wary of going to restaurants. They will prefer to order at home and we must take advantage of that,” said Poddar who owns Song-Hai on Waterloo Street.
Specialty Restaurants chairman Anjan Chatterjee said, “In the lockdown period, people are stuck at home and are being forced to do a lot of cooking and cleaning without domestic helps. They are desperate for a break and eating good food at home will be a welcome relief. That apart, we have our loyal customer base that has been missing our food.” Specialty Restaurants runs Oh! Calcutta, Mainland China, Hakka, Asia Kitchen and Sweet Bengal, all of which are now delivering through online apps or have their own arrangements.
Mocambo on Park Street had started home delivery, but shut its kitchen down to avoid risk of transmission.
“Our kitchen employees live in areas which are infection-prone. We had asked them to stay back, but most said they would prefer to travel. We thought that could be risky so we shut the kitchen down after a couple of days,” said Mocambo owner Nitin Kothari.
Source: Times of India