NRAI Statement on behalf of Mr Kabir Suri, President of NRAI on New Guidelines issued by the Delhi Government today.
“Right from the onset of COVID, the Restaurant 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 and second lockdowns and I reckon that this third wave is going to be even worse than last year. We somehow survived so far, but with the new guidelines announced today in Delhi 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, is completely unsustainable. It is like an excruciating and painful slow death for an erstwhile vibrant industry.
Delhi NCR is the ‘Restaurant Capital’ of India with highest number of restaurants in the country which is reflected in the vibrancy of cuisines it offers on varied price points. However, dominated by unorganised restaurants, Delhi NCR has the second largest organised food service industry in the country with the majority of restaurants belonging to the standalone segment. Consequently, its Food Service Market employs the second highest number of people amongst Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata. Delhi’s history, people from different beliefs and ethnicity have led to the development of the richest food culture. The capital city, today, has come to embrace the best of the international cuisines with a number of first restaurants opening in the city.
There are about 95,187 eateries in Delhi between organised and unorganised. Out of this 32,777 are organised Restaurants (with FSSAI number and GST). While unorganised will also take the brunt of these new guidelines, but the real brunt will come from the Organised Segment as they have a complete chain/employees, Govt taxes, Suppliers etc. and Revenue generated per year from Organised Restaurants in Delhi is INR 31,132 crores. Also, dine-out frequency in Delhi is maximum, 6 times per month compared to national average of 4.5 times per month whereas takeaway/delivery is meagre. All of this is going to be standstill once again!
We are also very worried about the fate of 3,01,715 people employed in Delhi Restaurants. We don’t want them to suffer but unfortunately, we don’t have adequate resources to support them for long.
Over 25% of Restaurants were shut last year and more than 24 Lakh People lost their jobs nationally. These new guidelines are going to be even further detrimental for the industry.
However, despite all the facts, it is very sad and disheartening to see that our Industry is the only sector which has been singled out every time. We are one of those sectors that always work in a safe closed environment with all the safety protocols in place but being asked to shut down while some other activities like Airlines, Public Transport, Markets, Gyms, Yoga Institutes, Construction Projects etc continue to function.
We need some urgent oxygen for our survival. I urge the Delhi 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.”