कोभिड–१९ बिश्वब्यापी महामारीले रेस्टुराँ उद्योगहरु बिश्वभरी नै ठूलो मारमा परेका छन् र तिनको अस्तित्व नै खतरमा परेको छ । हाम्रो देशमा पनि नेपालको बार तथा रेस्टुराका संघका अनुसार देशमा दर्ता भएका ३,३०० यी उद्योगहरुले ६० हजारभन्दा बढी कामदारहरुलाई प्रत्यक्ष रोजगारी दिदै आएका थिए ।
तर महामारीका कारण लकडाउले गर्दा तीमध्ये अधिकांश आज बेरोजगार बनिरहेका छन् भनेर रेष्टुराँ तथा बार एशोसिएशनका अध्यक्ष अरनिको राजभण्डारी बताउँदछन । यो कुरा आफ्नो अग्रेजीको फिचर लेखनमा नुसरत जहाँले बताएकी छन् । त्यसको पूर्ण पाठ यहाँ दिइएको छ :
Covid-19 threatens the
very survival of restaurants
restaurant industry is one of the industries worst hit by Covid-19 across the globe.
According to Restaurant and Bar Association of Nepal (REBAN), there are 3,300
registered restaurants in the country. “The industry directly employs more than
60,000 people, the majority of whom have been rendered jobless by the
lockdown,” says Araniko Rajbhandari, president of REBAN.
After lockdown of the
COVID-19 pandemic, restaurant revenue has declined by more than 75% in some
areas (Thamel). At first, this was largely due to the
advice consumers were given to stay home and secondly due to declined in
foreign customers (or even apparent unfounded bias against Chinese restaurants in particular), but now many
states are enforcing dining room closures as shelter-in-place directives or
orders are issued and enforced.
How is this affecting restaurants,
and what are local restaurants owners doing about this large shift in how their
business is operated?
restaurants have had to close altogether (temporarily or permanently), many are
shifting their operations to delivery and takeout services, even if they’ve
never done this type of businesses before. It’s a way to keep business running,
keep their employees paid, and keep providing food for their local
We were able
to interview the owner of a local Shafqat
Halal Food restaurant that has locations in Thamel to see how the business
is handling the pandemic and what they expect from the future.
How is COVID-19 impacting local
impacts of COVID-19 on restaurants may seem obvious, the effects are different
across the industry. Restaurants that
have never offered takeout services are seeing drastically different results
compared to fast-food chains that have always had drive-thru service and have
easily adapted to a fully delivery business model.
Shafqat has seen a drastic shift as they’ve had to
close their dining rooms to customers. According to Imtiyaz Wafa (Owner of
Shafqat Halal), about 60-70 percent of their sales were declined. So shutting
their doors definitely hit them hard.
that unfortunately they have had to let a couple of their high-school-aged
employees go. “We wanted to make sure people that depended on an income were
able to keep their jobs. And our main objective is to see what we can do to at
least get a paycheck trickling in right now (for our employees).”
restaurants have seen similar experiences as their states go on lockdown and
more people start ordering food to their doors.
A brief summary
of national restaurant data during the COVID-19 crisis
Because there was such a
fractured and delayed reaction to the corona virus across the country, the
numbers really vary by state. But here are the big milestones of March, 2020
from a national level
March 15 showed the first
sign of potential trouble ahead—restaurant revenue was down slightly on the
16th, 117th, 118th (-1% to -5%)—prior to that, revenue was had been
After 24 March fully
locked down situation create big trouble for restaurant and employees.
The government on 15 June
had changed the format of lockdown and restaurant started takeaway services.
As state and
local officials continue to take drastic measures in an effort to contain
spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, local
restaurants and bars have been hit especially hard.
Several states have already restricted restaurants and
operate as “takeout only,” and more states are likely to take similar measures
very soon. Even without such measures, as more and more people begin to
practice social distancing, there’s little question that local restaurants and
bars are in for some tough times.
While the restaurants have had zero revenue since the lockdown
started, Rajbhandari says, they still continue to have operational costs. “Most
restaurants spend about 18 to 22 percent of their revenue paying staff
salaries, and despite the lockdown, many restaurants are still continuing to
pay their staff,” says Rajbhandari.
Another major concern, according to Rajbhandari, for
restaurateurs is rent. “More than 90 percent of restaurants are located on
rented premises,” says Rajbhandari, who says that he hasn’t heard of incidents
of landlords pestering restaurateurs to pay rent for the past two months. “They
have shown solidarity with restaurateurs, which is something we all need to do
during these trying times.”
ensure public health safety, the restaurant association is currently working
with the Nepal Tourism Board and creating standard operating procedures for its
member restaurants. “The road to normalcy is going to be long but until then
what we can do is make sure we survive,” says Rajbhandari. “For the foreseeable
future, restaurants will have to content if they even manage to make 50 percent
of the revenue they had before Covid-19. Right now, the focus has to be on
What precautions are local restaurants
taking to ensure the safety of their employees and customers?
The food industry is
highly regulated and has specific guidelines in place when it comes to hygiene
and sanitization. Most restaurants (if not all) already had the necessary hand
washing and hygiene precautions in place to ensure their customers’
Shafqat was sure to share
on their social media channels and in their restaurant that this is something
that they have always done and they want to ensure customers they are taking
the right actions to ensure cleanliness and safety.
However, due to
heightened awareness and concern, restaurants, along with several other
restaurants, has adopted extra precautions regarding employees showing
potential symptoms of the corona virus disease.
What changes have taken place in
the restaurant industry since the pandemic began?
The largest shift in the
restaurant industry has obviously been a forced, immediate transition from
dine-in to takeout/curbside/delivery services. Restaurants that didn’t
previously offer takeout or delivery services are struggling the hardest as
they scramble to get these services started.
Obviously this crisis is
having a serious financial impact on pretty much every business. But beyond the
changes in demands to the restaurant industry, owners are also seeing positive
changes in how business owners, employees, and customers are working together
to help one another out during this crisis.
What’s in store for the future
of local restaurants?
The sad reality is that
not every business is going to make it through this crisis. That’s just the
nature of this unprecedented, global pandemic.
However, local businesses
should stay positive, optimistic, and look for ways to innovate, update, and
contribute. Restaurant Owners place an important emphasis on employees and
customers during this time. “Our main goal is that we make sure our employees
are paid and that our customers are fed.
At this point, they are
doing what they can to keep business running and keep the bills paid just to
make it through this pandemic. Eventually, the hope is that everything will
start to move back to normal.
Hope for the future is
what is keeping a lot of businesses and people moving forward right now.
Despite what it might feel like, this pandemic won’t last forever.