With Maharashtra allowing the opening up of hotels outside containment zones with 33 percent capacity, CNBC-TV18 discusses the new normal for the hotel business with Lemon Tree Hotel’s Rattan Keswani, Speciality Restaurants’ Anjan Chatterjee, Anurag Katriar, President of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and Sukesh Shetty of the Indian Hotel & Restaurant Association (IHRA).
Talking about the challenges staring the sector, NRAI’s Katriar said, “All the major cities, Bangalore, Calcutta, Delhi, and Gurgaon are a few and percentage while I will peg it at about say 40 percent of restaurants are allowed to be open and purely from volume perspective, it will be lesser than that. The operating hours are limited, certain big cities are not operating at all, containment zones is strict no-no, so it is not like good old days.”
The biggest challenge is to bring customers back, providing them a feeling of safety, he said.
“We are all hopeful and we think that in the mid-term things will improve. We need a slew of confidence-building measures for the consumers to come back. They must feel that they are entering a place that is safe and secure for them. NRAI has recently launched a very detailed SOP and training videos for all the restaurant partners and we have offered it to various state governments to use it for forming the guidelines for operating restaurants but is going to be a slow pick-up.”
IHRA’s Sukesh Shetty said only home deliveries is happening.
“Volume of business in fact is not more than 15 percent of the normal sales that they are doing otherwise because it is only home deliveries that is happening.”
Lemon Tree Hotel’s Rattan Keswani said, “There is always going to be a concern around quarantined or non-quarantined guests. We have had the largest inventory of rooms being occupied by quarantined facilities but mainly for asymptomatic guests. So the process of how do you isolate the customer and isolate that area and the people around them becomes more of a necessity to convince people around the safety protocols of each hotel. It is a play that you have to do separately as far as possible.”
Speciality Restaurants’ Anjan Chatterjee said, “We will be cautious in opening up areas and most important would be to balance the cash burn in the short-term, the cash flows. Fortunately, we are debt-free, but at the same time how much money can you burn so there is going to be serious selection of how you can move.”
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