Hyderabad: After being hit severely during the lockdown, the hospitality sector is gradually coming back on its feet. Soon after the easing of Covid restrictions, the initial response from the public was cautious but as daily Covid infections remained under control and vaccination rates improved, the confidence was back and people made a beeline to their favourite restaurants, giving the food industry a chance to bounce back.
Owner of the famous Taj Mahal hotel in Abids, Aditya Rao opines that customers are more confident to dine out post-vaccination.
“After the first wave, most restaurants didn’t have any business at all. There were occasional takeaways that people ordered. We were expecting the business to start reviving by the end of 2021, and pick up by 2022. However, things started improving a few months ago, and now we are doing about 80 per cent of the business we did pre-Covid. In fact, we are doing way better now than we did after the first wave. I think a major reason for this is that people have been isolated for too long and they want to step out,” he says.
While things are looking better now, the food industry was one of the most affected industries during both the pandemic. Sampath Srinivas Tummula, Joint Secretary of Telangana State Hotel Association, Owner, The Spicy Venue, Jubilee Hills says that it is almost impossible to estimate the losses incurred during the last 18 months.
“Overall, the food industry struggled a lot. We all incurred heavy losses and since the industry is not very organised we can’t estimate the entire loss as well. However, I can say that only those restaurants were shut down that didn’t have any savings and couldn’t conduct their operations due to no income. Now, after the second wave, the industry has taken several measures to ensure guests follow Covid norms and have also got their staff vaccinated.”
Not just the restaurants, even the bars are attracting lot of crowds. “The business is actually better than what we were expecting,” shares Tamana Kheskani, PR and Operational Head, The Joint Bar and Cafe, Banjara Hills, adding, “We have been receiving a good number of guests on weekdays and on weekends we are generally full. We have an open area for people to sit and that is an added advantage. Interestingly, the dine-ins have not affected the take away at all. In fact, they have both grown in numbers.”
The reopening of the corporate sector and other offices has also helped revive the business of restaurants and cafes in the city. Giving insight on the matter, Gopi Krishna, founder of The Culinary Lounge, shares, “People are stepping out for work and thus have an opportunity to dine-out with friends and family. Many corporate offices have already started operating at capacity resulting in an increase in the lunch hour rush at restaurants. Not just that several new restaurants are cropping up across the city. Many bigger chains are also opening their outlets here.”
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