Imagine this. Your pregnant wife is craving for Blueberry frozen yogurt in the wee hours and you simply drive her to the outlet without having to worry about the time. Or you escape the peak hours and ‘party all night’ at your favourite pub. And if your work shift gets over way past midnight, you can still head to the restaurant of your choice to gorge on the chhole bhature you have been craving all day. All this could indeed be true as the Cabinet has approved the law to open restaurants 24X7.
Riyaaz Amlani, President, NRAI (National Restaurant Association of India) is elated with the development, “This is extremely wonderful news and a victory for the NRAI. We have been lobbying hard for the past many years for the freedom of operational timings in restaurants. We are delighted as this will go a long way in boosting the economy and employment in India. We are hopeful that the state and local authorities would cooperate and adopt this model.”
Customers are a happy lot too. Ratish Sharma, Senior Marketing Manager, Agreeya Solutions shares, “If the restaurants plan to stay open all night, I am expecting some interesting deals on both food and drinks late in the night, considering that the footfall in these places fall after 11.30 pm. So it will be an added bonus for people to dine and wine at night.”
Will it impact the hotel business? Dhananjay Kumar, GM, The Suryaa, New Delhi points out, “This is a good initiative however hotel already has provision of operating outlet 24X7 and also there is a provision to get Liquor License 24X7, however, the license fee is very high and does not give viability to operate. Most of the hotels in fact operate the coffee shop as all day dining which means it will shut the operation by 1am as operational cost is higher and turn over post-midnight in coffee shop is extremely low. This might help mall and stand-alone operators however for the hotel this is nothing new as hotel does operates 24X7 coffee shops. I am not sure what value addition we as hotelier can do in this regard as it will be mostly applicable for restaurants, pub and mall operators.”
Sumeet Yadav, CEO, Nando’s India says, “This is great news. More than impact on the business, it’s a sign to the world that we are maturing as a country and getting more confident with our policies and outlook. The move will benefit business long term especially on weekends and also improve employment opportunities in the F&B and retail sector, even though getting the right manpower will be a challenge initially. We will wait for more details on this proposal and welcome this move. The times are changing.
While most are welcoming the move, they are still concerned about late night nuisance and drunken driving. The staff is not too elated with the news. On condition of anonymity, a Delhi-based bartender shares, “I am not really sure how it will impact my working hours. That’s my biggest concern. Hope we are not pressed to put in longer hours. As long as they are able to manage shift timing efficiently, we are fine.”
A traffic constable who refused to divulge his name raised concerns, “I fear that crime will increase due to all time accessibility. We will need more police force to be sanctioned for night patrolling. It will also get unsafe for women and we will need another women cell to monitor. Overtime shifts for us will mean that we will be physically exhausted to be attentive during work hours.”
While the decision is still underway, it’s yet to see what all measurements will be taken before this decision is put in place.