With restaurants’ Independence Day packages offering unlimited brunch, happy hours and discounts, August 15 used to be one of the most awaited days for foodies. But this year, the Independence Day offers and packages at restaurants are few as the recently reopened restaurants in NCR are still trying to get back on their feet in unlock. August 15 has always been one of the busiest days of the year, but this year, restaurant owners are simply hoping that this weekend will be as busy as the other weekends they’ve had since they reopened. “Thankfully weekends have been getting good business and we are just hoping that it continues this weekend, too. August 15 isn’t a big occasion in terms of business for us this year. Very few people are going out for dining in anyway,” says restaurateur Navneet Kalra, owner, Town Hall, Khan Chacha, Public Affair and Mr Choy in Khan Market.
‘Don’t know whether families will dine at restaurants on August 15’
Restaurateur Saurabh Khanijo, Managing Director, The Kylin Experience, says that for the last few years, his team would come up with attractive offers like unlimited brunch and I-Day special discount packages. But this year, his kitchens are running with limited staff to maintain social distancing. “Footfall has been good, but at this point of time, we are still adjusting to the new normal and our priority is to do the best with what we have. We still don’t know whether families (which used to be the major part of the crowd at restaurants on Independence Day) will dine at restaurants on August 15,” he says.
While some restaurants are getting queries for reservations for I-Day, restaurateurs say it is too early for them to devise promotional plans and packages. “It is too early for us to announce packages and offers as we still don’t have consistency in footfall. We might have done better business if August 15 was on any other day of the week. For example, footfall on Raksha Bandhan weekend was great as it was an extended weekend, but in this case, it hardly makes a difference,” says restaurateur Amit Bagga, who will be reopening his outlet, Daryaganj, before this weekend.
Restaurants expecting a surge in takeaways and deliveries“We expect the dine-in footfall on August 15 weekend to be 30% of what it used to be in the previous years. Delivery and takeout are helping us bridge the gap,” says Varun Tuli, Managing Director, Yum Yum Cha.
Like Varun, there are others who are expecting a surge in delivery and takeaway orders on Aug 15. “Holiday is just a non-working day for people now, and their idea of chilling out and celebrating is ordering in from their favourite joint rather than going out to eat. Takeaway and delivery orders throughout the day will definitely be higher this year as people are still suspicious about going out for dining in and due to 50% occupancy, some restaurants also have waiting time on weekends,” says restaurateur Dinesh Arora, owner, La Roca, Aerocity.