Home cooks and caterers are in high demand as entire families who are down with COVID-19 are turning to them for nutritious meals. While COVID-19 cases in Bengaluru have been dropping rapidly, many families are simply isolating themselves at home when they get flu-like symptoms instead of getting tested. Most home food caterers in Bengaluru have their hands full. During the peak, they were even turning away new customers.
Nitin Krishna, a software engineer and resident of Konanakunte Cross, had to struggle for two days calling up multiple home food caterers before fixing one. “Most of the caterers I called had their hands full and expressed their inability to take on more orders for a few days. Finally, I got a caterer who delivers meals from a far-off area, but it cost me more,” he said. His entire family of four is down with COVID-19.
Many others have had a similar experience.
Ambika Choudhary, a resident of Yelahanka, had a bad experience with home food caterers. “The first caterer I placed orders with failed to deliver meals on time. The meal that was delivered hours late was not what was agreed upon. On enquiry, they said they were stretched as the orders had overshot the infrastructure they had. I changed the caterer twice, and by the time I settled on one, my home isolation period had ended,” she said.
A representative of Higher Taste, a service of ISKCON, told The Hindu that for over a month they have had over 500 meal orders any given day, which increased by 30-40 meals daily when cases peaked in January. “With the infrastructure we have in place, we are able to cater to everyone,” she said.
However, home cooks working out of their kitchens as well as caterers with smaller operations are struggling.
Smitha, from Vandya Prasad Foods, provides meals only to residents in south Bengaluru. She said their capacity was 110 meals three times a day, but they had orders much beyond that. “We are getting enquiry calls for more meals, but we are not able to serve all of them,” she said.
Most caterers serve three meals a day, mostly home-cooked food. Many take care to use nutritious immunity-boosting ingredients since they are serving COVID-19 patients. Each meal can cost anywhere between ₹100 and ₹400.
Raj Prakash, who has been catering to COVID-19 patients, said that while he was trying to serve meals across Bengaluru during the second wave in 2021, he had partnered with another caterer in south Bengaluru during the third wave. “The demand was more this time around, as most people are in home isolation. But with the peak behind us, we expect a drop in the number of orders,” he said.