New Normal

Salad days of eating houses are long gone

Operational costs of restaurants hiked, have no other option but to go on

Salad days of eating houses are long gone

Photo for representation purpose only.

Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service
AMRITSAR, JULY 14

Ever since the government allowed restaurants to get back to business, the new circumstances have shot up the operational costs of running one. The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) released by the government has complicated their ways. It necessitates that an eating house has thermal screening installed, frequent sanitisation, extra hygenic care among other things.

To no surprise, the general expenses of a restaurant had to rise. The bar on number of guests further elongated their bill sheets. The profitability of a restaurant depends on the number of people served at a given time. Higher the number of customers in a shift, more the profit.

But as per the directions issued by the government, eatries are allowed to use only half of the tables, in other words they have to operate at 50 per cent capacity, which is punching holes in their pockets. For instance, it also takes into account operationalisation of electric gadgets like ACs, fans, lights, besides kitchen appliances like burning of the gas stoves.

As Navdeep Singh Grover, proprietor of Astoria restaurant, puts it: “We have three halls but right now we are operating only one.”

The number of visitors are not so great but Grover sounds optimistic as he adds, “The visitors are less but it’s increasing with time. Family tables comprising little kids and elderly are no longer visible. But then, they prefer takeaway or order home delivery.” His customers comprise youngsters and newly-wed couples.

The chefs and waiters now have greater responsibility apart from just serving. They have to take all kinds of precautions right from washing of the vegetables and all raw products with chlorine and dipping them in the boiling water before they are morphed into delights. Sanitising of knives, chopping boards, utensils, tables, proper use of gloves, headcovers and at the same time maintaining social distance are things they have to keep in mind.

Running accordingly with the present demand, restaurants have more or less abandoned the practice of cooking food in huge quantities. Now, they are cooking dishes in small quantities so that only fresh meals are served and in case they stumble upon a lean day nothing is wasted. Even salads are no longer part of the platter as customers demand for hot and thoroughly cooked food.


Speaking out

We are following all SOPs, staff maintain hygiene and customers are assured of quality. We have three halls but right now we are operating only one. Though 15 tables are available, we serve at only 7 to 8 tables. — Navdeep Grover, Astoria proprietor

My family has been visiting a particular restaurant for over a decade now. I found that the quality, maintenance and norms were being followed thoroughly. So, I decided to take my family and friends there. — Gurpreet Singh, Green Avenue resident

No doubt we are operating restau-rant under loss, but keeping the establis-hment shut will only increase losses. So, we have no option but to operate to remain in the market. Hope things will change soon. — Arun Khurana, Aura restaurant, proprietor

Before cooking for the day my team ensures that the kitchen, vegetables and other cooking materials are sanitised properly. We are cooking less these days, but our focus is on hygiene. — Manmohan Singh Negi, a cook

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