Kolkata: October 19: Owing to year-long lockdown and Covid restrictions for more than 18 months, a huge rush of people to bars and restaurants in Kolkata during Durga Pujas forced many of the premiere dine-outs in the city to go for a forced closure even before the scheduled hours because of a shortage of food and beverages.
“I think every restaurant would smash their own record in terms of footfall and revenue in the week gone by,” said Hotel & Restaurant Association of Eastern India president Sudesh Poddar, who operates Manthan, Songhai and MS Bar & Lounge.
A reality check will give a better picture. Premiere restaurants in the city like Manthan and Songhai went out of stock on Sanshthi which was also a Sunday. Similarly, Trinca’s on Park Street — one of the most famous Bar cum Restaurant in the city — had to pull their shutters down on Navami by 11.30 p.m. Several other restaurants in the city like Oh! Calcutta, Mainland China and Flame & Grill on Eastern Bypass and Momcambo, Peter Cat and Peter Hu on Park Street had 25 per cent to 30 per cent more sales than they had before the lockdown started a couple of years back.
Restaurateurs, who have been in business for decades, said they have never witnessed anything like this in their lifetime. “What we have been witnessing during the puja is extraordinary. We usually do two-time the regular business during the puja days but here the rush was all through the day. Restaurants have done almost 25 per cent – 30 per cent more business than they did during the festival in 2005,” a senior restaurateur said.
One of the restaurant owners who owns a restaurant chain in Kolkata and abroad said the restaurants had not only done 25 per cent more sales than before, they would have done at least 30 per cent more business had there been more tables to accommodate patrons.
“What we witnessed was revenge eating. People who have been indoors for the last 18 months came out and dined like anything. There were no bounds. I have not witnessed anything like this before. And it is not just in Kolkata but restaurants in other parts of the country and abroad made similar business. It was really surprising to find the people jostled for a table in London,” he added. (IANS)