Covid impact: Many restaurants permanently closed, some may take time to resume business in Pune – Hindustan Times

Restaurant News

PUNE: Many restaurants in the city have closed down permanently owing to the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic as the state government allowed restaurants and bars to restart business after six months.

Of the 8,500 restaurants associated with Pune hoteliers association in Pune city, only 2,000 have resumed their services.

The dine-in services at restaurants and bars were resumed across Maharashtra from October 5 with 50 per cent customer capacity.

Some of the restaurant owners said that they had to take drastic steps as business was severely hit during the lockdown with limited orders unable to cover even 20% of rent and staff salaries.

Among the issues listed out by various restaurant owners that led to closing down of eateries in the city are financial burden in view of bank loan, unable to pay rent, salaries of staff and maintenance of restaurant.

Sarika Bhagat, the owner of Rayat non-veg hotel in Shaniwar peth area, one of the popular non-vegetarian food outlets in the city that closed down during the lockdown period, said, “We had three restaurants in the city before the lockdown and all premises were on rent. During the lockdown, it became difficult to manage rent, salaries and maintenance of all the three food joints. We had to close down our main restaurant in Shaniwar peth and another hotel near Sarasbaug area. We are running only one restaurant and that too with the help of family members.”

Veg Marathon, a restaurant on Tilak road near Swargate chowk, also could not survive the lockdown. Its owner requesting anonymity said, “I was earlier working in another restaurant as manager and quit the job to start my own restaurant. We had hardly started the restaurant for a couple of months and the lockdown began in March. I was left with no option, but to down shutters as I had taken loan and borrowed money to start the restaurant.”

On Bajirao road, another outlet, Kiga ice cream, has also been closed down due to lockdown.

Besides finance, shortage of staff after workers returning to their hometowns during lockdown have also added to the issues that many restaurant owners face to resume business. Vaishali and Roopali, the two prominent restaurants on Fergusson College road, have not restarted due to shortage of workers.

Abhishek Shetty, the owner of Kalinga’s Veg Gourmet restaurant at Erandwane, said, “There are multiple issues, including shortage of staff, that has left us to decide to not reopen.”

Pune Restaurant and Hoteliers Association (PRHA) president Ganesh Shetty said, “It’s been three days since restaurants and bars are allowed to restart the dine-in services, but not all of them have resumed. Out of the total 8,500 major restaurants in the city, only around 2,000 have started. Most of them are yet to restart. Many have cited costly rents, financial crunch to pay staff salaries as reasons for permanently closing down. More food joints will reopen once staff return from their hometowns.”

Rohan Nalawade, owner of Tasty Punjab veg non-veg restaurant in Hadapsar, said, “We were running the restaurant in partnership since last three years and during the lockdown we had to shut it down. Initially for a month we thought that we will survive and restart, but as the lockdown got extended we were left with no option but to close down. The rent was very high and few of our staff had stayed back in Pune, so we had to pay them as well. We finally closed the restaurant in May.”

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