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Lockdown Impact

Day 16 | The government needs to take more active steps for the survival of the restaurant sector: Chef Irfan Pabaney

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Even before the coronavirus outbreak and subsequently the nationwide lockdown, the restaurant sector was going through really bad times. Elaborating about it, Chef Irfan Pabaney, country head, Sodabottleopenerwala, said, “One of the greatest concerns for us has been the input tax credit not being offered to the restaurants’ sector. Whether it’s the government, landlords or aggregators with predatory pricing, it has always been the restaurant sector that has taken a beating. From the beginning, we have always been on the backfoot with minimum capital reserves. Unfortunately, this is what we are suffering from and a pandemic like this is going to make us suffer more. This is the point wherein the government needs to step in. The short term impact is that everybody is suffering and the crunch in cash flows can be seen across industries. Senior management of companies is asked to hold onto their salaries so that the ground force people, who are very important, are paid in time. We are who we are because of them. Short term impact is about that, how companies will let the ground force employees survive. In the long term, we still have no idea how long will this go. There is also no clear indication that whether you open the restaurants while adhering to social distancing norms or whether only keeping the delivery-only format is the right thing to do. It is a scenario that none of us would have thought of. It is going to take a long time to the receiver, depending on how deep are one’s pockets. But with the passing of time, with over a year’s time, I think it is necessary for restaurants to eventually work on a revenue-share business model wherein everybody is in a win-win situation. The restaurant industry needs to come together seeking a cap on the rent percentage from their topline, so there is uniformity in business and so the landlords do not swindle money from restaurateurs. At the end of this all, I hope human beings become a little more caring towards the environment.”

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