NRAI Statement on Maharashtra Government’s New Guidelines on behalf of Mr Anurag Katriar, President of NRAI.
“As Maharashtra witnessed signs of a second surge and cases started to mount up significantly, NRAI, as a responsible Industry Body partnered with the Government in fighting the pandemic. We initiated a massive awareness drive in collaboration with the Government called #Responsible Dining in Mumbai. We did this because we consider ourselves as a partner to the Government in fighting this menace.
However, we are very saddened with the new guidelines for the Restaurant Industry which for all practical purposes shuts down the sector. To operate only with deliveries that too up to 8PM, makes no commercial sense at all.
Right from the onset of COVID, our sector has been one of the worst-hit. We were the first ones to be shut and almost the last ones to restart during the first lockdown and I reckon that this lockdown is going to be even worse than last year. We somehow survived so far, but with the new guidelines, it seems highly unlikely that we can sustain any longer. We were shut for most part of last year. We have been operating at 50% and restricted hours since then. We had just about started seeing some respectable surge in consumption which prompted us to hire back our people and now we are left in a lurch. These new guidelines, which prohibits dining completely and allows only deliveries till 8pm is meaningless and totally unsustainable. It is like an excruciating and painful slow death for an erstwhile vibrant industry.
It is so sad and unfortunate that despite being the sector with an annual turnover of approximately INR 4 Lakh Crore, which means we contribute almost 2% of the Gross GDP, we still haven’t been considered for any relief package from the Government. In fact, Maharashtra Government has asked us to pay the renewal fee for the liquor license for next year by 9th of this month in full and without any option for instalments. We are also very worried about the fate of 7.30 million employees in the F & B sector. We don’t want them to suffer but unfortunately, we don’t have adequate resources to support them for long.
We are one of those sectors that work in a safe closed environment with all the safety protocols in place but being asked to shut down while some other activities like film shoots, construction activities, public transport etc continue to function.
We need some urgent oxygen for our survival. I urge the Maharashtra Government to either allow us to operate normal hours with safeguards and protocols or compensate us, our employees, suppliers & landlords suitably for the loss of business arising out of the lockdown.”
About National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI)
National Restaurant Association of India is the voice of the Indian Restaurant Industry. Founded in 1982, it represents the interests of 500000+ restaurants, an industry valued INR 4,23,865 crores.
Being the leading association of the Indian restaurant industry, NRAI aspires to promote and strengthen the Indian Food Service Sector. The Association in its 38th year has a pan India presence with members comprising of restaurants and suppliers.
NRAI is governed by a committee of members and led by a President and Office Bearers. The committee consists of over 35 Restaurant CEOs / Owners representing various national and international brands from the F &B sector. The association works closely with a network of State and City chapter partners in Mumbai, Gurugram, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Delhi, Noida and Chandigarh and will open new chapters in others cities soon. The Chapter activities include:
· Ground work and action pertaining to government issues and representations
· Facilitate the exchange of knowledge & experience
· Provide support in the overall development of the association
NRAI aspires to lead the Indian Restaurant Industry to greater profitable growth. It represents the interests of members through advocacy, training, research and industry events.
NRAI aims to
· Advocate changes in the laws governing the Indian Restaurant Industry at local, state and centre levels,
· Provide opportunities to educate members
· Play a key role in promoting skilling and career opportunities for industry professionals through the Hospitality Sector Skill Council.