The weekend after the lockdown restrictions were lifted in Telangana, most Hyderabad food joints registered brisk business
As the vaccination drive picks up momentum in Telangana, restaurateurs regained the hope of businesses crawling back to normal. A significant number of the migrant workforce is also returning from their respective home towns after getting vaccinated, or to get vaccinated in Hyderabad. While eateries witnessed a steady rise in footfall after the lockdown was lifted in the state, speciality restaurants attached to hotel chains that shut during the lockdown are happy to report being ‘pre-booked’ during the weekends.
Chef Amay Marathey, vice president, Telangana Chef’s Association, says that most restaurants in Hyderabad saw about 80% occupancy and a handful of them experienced pre-COVID dine levels in the weekend. Amey says, “A big influencer is the fact that people are actively getting vaccinated; the sentiment for dine-in option has become more positive.”
Standalone eateries are also delighted at the steady flow of customers who do not mind a waiting period of up to 20 minutes to be seated. Narren Pal Singh, owner of Brand Sardar that owns eateries like Chubby Cho, Fat Pigeon, Resign and Cock And Bull in the city, says his restaurants were full with diners. He adds, “Earlier due to the restricted time of operation , we had limited customers. The last weekend being the first working weekend after the lockdown was lifted completely, the occupancy was good. Getting vaccinated is making them confident of stepping out. However, we ensure they are wearing a mask and sanitizing hands before stepping in.
ITC hotels too saw a good response: Kebabs and Kurries at ITC Kakatiya and Yi Jing saw a good number of diners walking in over the weekend. The restaurants were 100% packed to seating capacity. Taj group of hotels and Vivanta in Hyderabad too witnessed a good turnout of people for weekend lunch and dinner at their speciality restaurants. Sheraton and Westin at Gachibowli, too, seem to be picking up the pace with most of their restaurants having been packed for the weekend brunch. With 80% occupancy for lunch, the hotel staff feel hopeful. Prateek Kalra, director of operations at The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace, says, “Westin Hyderabad Mindspace has seen a steady rise in footfalls at our food and beverage outlets after the state-wide unlock. We are witnessing an overwhelming response on weekends; our guests are excited to be back for our Sunday Brunch and try a new theme each week. We are ensuring that even with the positive upside in the number of guests, we adhere to all COVID-19 protocols. Few guests have mentioned that they comfortable dining at venues where the entire team is vaccinated such as ours. The team is delighted to be back serving the guests.”
The Footfalls at QSRs too seem to have significantly gone up. A pizza outlet in AS Rao Nagar is thrilled with sales going up by 60% post-lockdown. Drawing a comparison of sales made by 45th Avenue in Jubilee hills, owner Vijay Ramani says, “Post lockdown being lifted, we are doing 150 covers as against 100 covers during the restricted hours. We are currently at 50 covers on an average per day and it makes us happy to see our patrons coming back.
Naresh Naani, a brew master with Roastery Coffee Shop, says “It is like getting to meet people after an exile. Most of my daily clients are back and even the catching up makes us feel secure about our jobs and business. I am also very happy to see the concern our patrons have for us; most of them are enquiring about our vaccination and well-being.”