Chennai eateries see poor patronage

Patrons at a restaurant in Chennai.

Patrons at a restaurant in Chennai.  

Many restaurants stay shut for want of workers and funds

It has been a week since restaurants have opened for dine-in and restaurateurs in the city say footfall has only marginally gone up while parcels have come down.

R. Srinivasa Raja of Adyar Anandha Bhavan said the parcel sales had merged with the dine-in numbers. “There are still heavy restrictions on movement and restaurants have to spend more on sanitising. But, hopefully, in the long run, restaurants will break even,” he said.

Many restaurants, especially in the city, have not yet opened due to manpower shortage. “It is the North Indians, who make the naans, rotis and chat items. Those from Tamil Nadu have gone home too. And those who have the staff are unable to pay rent and electricity bills,” said M. Ravi of Chennai Hotels Association.

Temple towns

The situation is not the same in small cities where restaurants depend on local population for staff. They are waiting for arrival of tourists and reopening of temples that draw crowds.

“We do not have an issue with staff availability. We have not cut pay but asked staff to come on alternate days. For now, we are just managing the day-to-day running of the business,” said K. Hariharan, a hotelier of Kancheepuram, where many restaurants have opened and are serving walk-in customers though their numbers are small. “People just want normalcy to return,” he added.

In Mamallapuram, restaurants have also been getting very few customers. J. Sethuraman of the Mamalla Hotels Group said that the town was dependent on tourists and weekend visitors from Chennai and Puducherry. “Unless inter-State and inter-district movement is allowed without restrictions, the number of customers will not increase much,” he said.

In Chidambaram, which mainly depends on the Thillai Nataraja temple and the Annamalai University, parcels remain the mainstay. “People still seem to be afraid to move out of their homes,” said R.M. Swethakumar, an hotelier of Chidambaram.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 7:18:57 AM |

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