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News: No time restrictions on the opening hours for Gurgaon resto bars, but restaurateurs say safety remains to be their priority-10-08-2021


Reopening businesses after lockdown this year might have been a challenge for restaurant and bar owners in some cities due to restrictions on operating hours, but restaurateurs in Gurgaon say they managed to gain a steady footfall in the last two months as they were given an extension in operating hours in a phased manner. As per the latest order by the Haryana government that came on Sunday, there is no time restriction in the opening hours of restaurants and bars now. They can now remain open till 1am. Until last week they were allowed to remain open till 11pm. However, they can only operate with 50% of their actual seating capacity.
Extension in operation hours means more business for restaurants and bars
With this extension in operating hours, restaurant owners are hopeful that there will be a significant increase in revenue. “This is a welcome move as the active COVID cases are very low and it makes sense to unlock now and we hope Noida and Delhi also follow Gurgaon’s example soon. This will result in an increase in sales by 15-20%,” says Amit Bagga, Co-founder, Daryaganj at Ambience Mall, Gurgaon. Vishal Anand, Founder, Moonshine Food Ventures (that owns SAGA at Golf Course Road, Café StayWoke at Golf Course Road Extension and Pa Pa Ya at Sector 65 in Gurgaon), says that this time extension means additional 20-30% business for them. “We will be able to change tables twice for guests now in the additional hours,” he says.Inderjeet Banga, owner of Pirates of Grill at MG Road, Gurgaon, and head, Gurgaon chapter of National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), says, “The government of Haryana has taken a proactive approach considering that the number of cases is very low and also businesses and economy need a push. In cities like Gurgaon, people like to come out at night after long working day and almost 70% sales of restaurants are from dinners so this normal operational timing shall lead to more revenues for businesses, more taxes for govt and relaxed dining for guests. In fact, with 1am as closing time, better safety processes shall be followed as dinner timings will now have a window of 7pm to 1am, giving establishments lesser pressure to fill in chairs in a stipulated timing and stricter enforcement of social distancing norms.”
Zorawar Kalra, Founder, Massive Restaurants that owns brands like Farzi Café and Made In Punjab in Cyber Hub, adds, “This is a very welcome and proactive move by the authorities and will act like a shot in the arm for the beleaguered industry. This will also help in ensuring social distancing is maintained even better as reservations can be spaced out. Finally, with this move the viability of opening a restaurant in Gurgaon is no longer a question mark. Also, all stakeholders including the government, employees, patrons and the industry will benefit.”

More resto bars to reopen in Gurgaon in the coming days
For any dining outlet, evening hours bring maximum revenue and therefore some restaurateurs decided to not reopen outlets when restaurants were first allowed to reopen in Gurgaon in June till 8pm and even later when extension in timeline was allowed till 11pm. Now when outlets can run operations at their usual timing till 1am, it makes sense to reopen, say restaurateurs. “Corporate crowd used to form a major part of our footfall in Gurgaon, but in the work from home scenario that category of guests is missing during early evening hours, so I decided to not reopen my restaurant. Now that there are no restrictions in timings, I will reopen my Gurgaon outlet in the next 10 days. I am hopeful that it will bring 70% business of what we used to get earlier with some people from Delhi also driving down to Gurgaon for late night dinners and outings,” says Dinesh Arora, owner of Unplugged Courtyard at Udyog Vihar.

Following all safety measures strictly will remain to be our priority: Restaurateurs
Even as they will be open for a few additional hours in the evening, restaurateurs urge patrons to not forego safety measures as they plan to come for dining in advance bookings and reservations will help them operate smoothly with 50% seating capacity. “Main thing for restaurants and patrons to follow is to serve and act responsibly. COVID norms and seating capacity limits must be strictly followed. Prior reservations will help in avoiding overcrowding as restaurants cannot control walk in traffic. Longer serving times are going to be critical in spacing out these reservations. Patrons will also have to be responsible and follow wait times at restaurants with patience and avoid breaking social distancing norms while they wait,” says Zorawar. Vishal adds that while they will continue to follow all safety norms, they urge diners to follow safety rules and support the hospitality industry. “In India, most guests do not like to book tables in advance, but it has changed during the pandemic. We are already seeing people making prior reservations, we are also restricting walk-ins. Reservations help us in allocating and planning tables better with social distancing norms. We urge guests to celebrate responsibly. While we follow rules, guests should follow safety norms and support the hospitality industry,” he says.

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