Hospitality industry prepares in advance to minimise losses as Covid third wave fear looms
Amidst the fear and night curfew, the hospitality industry, which was one of the worst-hit sector during the pandemic, has learnt a lesson or two from the past.
BENGALURU : With the growing concern over the third wave of Covid-19 and an upward graph of positive cases reported from Kerala and Maharashtra, the state government has imposed night curfew from 9 pm to 5 am to break the chain of Covid-19 transmission.
Despite the fear, many are venturing out, calling it a ‘revenge outing’.
Amidst the fear and night curfew, the hospitality industry, which was one of the worst-hit sector during the pandemic, has learnt a lesson or two from the past, and have made arrangements to ensure minimum loss in future.
For instance, Vietnamese restaurant Hanoi, in Indiranagar, recently opened with limited staff. Owner Nirav Rajani believes that the restaurant will not be severely hit as they do not have a liquor license.
“The most we can do at this point is be mentally prepared. We’ve kept a financial buffer and helped our staff with accommodation. We are now working on tweaking some of our food items to be delivery-friendly. There will be DIY kits and region focused meals, among others.”
Suzy Q by 1522 on Queen’s Road re-opened last month with 50% seating occupancy.
Owners Anirudh Kheny and Chethan Hegde say that the previous lockdown was a learning experience.
“We’ve installed automated sanitiser and soap dispensers. Since we have an outdoor seating facility, many customers are taking to that section. And since the new curfew rule, we take our last order by 8 pm and get everyone to leave by 9 pm,” Kheny adds.
Some restaurants are utilising building space for the accommodation of the staff. Owner chef Regi Mathew of Kappa Chakka Kandhari explains how they’ve accommodated their staff in the two floors above the restaurant in Koramangala.
“All our staff is vaccinated and are staying with us because our speciality is regional Kerala food. For a total cover of 100 seats, we are now accommodating only 50 and have a set menu,” Mathew says.
When the customer makes a reservation, the menu is sent to them through WhatsApp to save time and to ensure minimal contact with the waiters.
As for hotels, staycations have become more popular. Conrad Bengaluru recently started Great Small Breaks (GSB) as a way to encourage parents to have a staycation with children.
General manager Srijan Vadhera says, “Everything we offer for families as part of GSB is contactless. From play area to activities like colouring, cooking and gaming, are sanitised and kept ready before the kids arrive. Only the staff who is fully vaccinated will attend the guests.”
The hotel has added an online ambulance service, oxygen concentrator, room for quarantine and a visiting doctor, if necessary.
However, for pubs and bar owners, the curfew has not been a favourable one.
Nerall Bakhai of Stories-The Brew Chapter says, “It’s a huge loss for the business but perhaps newer methods like how the government allowed growlers for takeaway will help again. However, the craze to get growlers home also died down after two weeks of the rule.”