Tuesday, March 28

Restaurants brace for low footfall, quick delivery in Kolkata

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Fewer tables, a longer waiting time, quicker service and hand sanitizers will be among the plethora of new norms across Kolkata’s restaurants when they reopen on June 8 — two and a half months after the onset of lockdown. You may have to place your order in one go to reduce contact time with waiters and your movements inside restaurants could be restricted and monitored to keep a track of things that need to be sanitized once you have left. Some restaurants are planning to deny entry to those not wearing a mask while others are ready with their own stock to help patrons protect themselves.

Park Street — Kolkata’s party and food hub — has started limping back to normalcy with new arrangements. Restaurants are planning new seating arrangements and arming themselves with thermal scanners. Waiting time could go up at Mocambo and Peter Cat that have always had queues. But the good news is that the chelo kebabs and the chicken steaks could now reach your table faster. “We will lower our seat count by 30%-40% to ensure social distancing. Also, since we have a long waiting time, dishes will be prepared faster and patrons will be requested to place orders in one go to make things move quicker,” said Nitin Kothari, owner of Mocambo and Peter Cat.

Oasis on Park Street, too, is bracing to resume services with reduced capacity. Patrons will be asked to be quick with orders and stick to the tables they have been allotted. “Movement will be restricted and we shall sanitize everything used by the guests once they leave. Our staff will be screened and sanitized every 1-2 hours,” said owner Pratap Daryanani, adding that the decision to reopen was a positive step.

The Hotel and Restaurants’ Association of Eastern India (HRAEI) has advised its members to keep every second table vacant to maintain a distance of at least six feet and stick to booking of tables to avoid crowding. It has also sent a letter to the state government seeking permission to operate bars. “With bars remaining shut, we expect footfall to be low initially. People will remain wary of crowded places for a few more months. The first few months could be difficult for us,” said HRAEI secretary Sudesh Poddar. Poddar, who owns Song-Hai restaurant, added that for a majority of Kolkata’s restaurants, liquor comprises 60% of total sales.

Amber owner Sanjay Khullar agreed. “We must contend with an early closure by 8pm due to the night curfew hours, foregoing dinner hours. ,” said Khullar.


Source: Times of India

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