No lockdown for them: Staff struggle to keep restaurant kitchens running

Desi Kitchen in Banashankari 2nd stage is now selling only packed food.

Desi Kitchen in Banashankari 2nd stage is now selling only packed food.   | Photo Credit: K_MURALI_KUMAR

Many restaurants have done away with delivery service and have reduced the cost of some items

Every other day, Deepesh Kumar goes to the APMC yard in Yeshwantpur to buy produce and returns to the restaurant on New BEL Road, where he is employed. Depending on the availability of produce, he and the other staff, who have been working through the lockdown, plan the menu for the day.

“There are 12 employees, including three cooks. We have been living in the restaurant since the lockdown was enforced. We are managing with whatever is available,” said Mr. Kumar. Some of the staff left for their native towns before the lockdown was announced.

Pushparaj Joshi, who works with Mr. Kumar, said many items on the eight-page menu were now unavailable. “The first things to go were sweets and non-vegetarian dishes,” he said and added that the number of delivery requests had reduced to barely 10 from the earlier 70-odd.

The staff at a restaurant in Whitefield have a lot of time on their hands. According to an employee, Omar Iqbal, the number of delivery requests via food aggregator apps had come down. “Every day, we used to have at least 200 delivery requests. We hardly do 60 now. We are managing to just about stay afloat,” he said.

But the eight-member team that works at a restaurant on Koramangala Club Road is busy all through the day, though the number of delivery requests have reduced by over 50%. Saurabh Singh, the restaurant manager, said the kitchen staff are busy preparing 200-odd food packets that are distributed to the needy every day.

Many restaurants in the city have decided to do away with delivery service and have reduced the cost of some items.

“We make around 200 masala dosas a day and keep them ready. We used to sell a dosa for ₹50, but now we charge ₹20,” said a staff member at a small eatery on Double Road.

At another hotel on K.R. Road, the price of many items has remained the same, but the staff don’t turn away anyone who is hungry.

Mahesh N.S., one of proprietors, said, “We are not charging any money from police personnel who come in uniform. There are a few who have promised to pay after the lockdown is lifted. We are managing to keep afloat while trying to help those in need,” he said.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 7:03:23 PM |

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