Unable to cope with the acute financial difficulties amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a large number of restaurants all across the globe are shutting their doors permanently. As per reports, one in four restaurants in India may never reopen again. Several restaurants like Mirchi and Mime, Madeira and Mime, Shosha Navi Mumbai, D:OH and Indigo Deli have closed doors in Mumbai. In Bangalore, popular eateries like Forage, Phobidden Fruit, Vidhyarthi Bharathi, Anna Kuteera and Koshy’s have shut down. In Delhi too, the scenario is similar. Here is a list of some popular food joints in Delhi that have filed for bankruptcy in the wake of coronavirus:
1. Smoke House Deli, Khan Market
Smoke House Deli, popular for delish English breakfasts, had four outlets in Delhi in Connaught Place, Vasant Kunj, Khan Market and DLF Avenue, Saket. But unfortunately, the next time you visit Khan Market, you won’t be able to savour its hazelnut pancakes, smoked salmon or Spanish omelettes. The lock on its door is permanent. In fact, nearly 40 percent of restaurants in Delhi’s Khan Market have closed down due to financial crisis.
According to reports, Riyaaz Amlani, CEO & MD, Impresario Handmade Restaurants, said, “In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent fallout, we have made the difficult decision to close Smoke House Deli’s outpost in Khan Market. While we have been in constant negotiations with our landlords there and have also spent time assessing the outpost’s overall financial viability, ultimately a difficult but necessary decision was made keeping in mind Khan Market’s expensive real estate and other issues.”
2. Cafe Turtle, Khan Market
The iconic book cafe, Full Circle Bookshop and Cafe Turtle had opened up its outlet in Greater Kailash-1 a couple of months ago. It had also started home delivery of books. But the first outlet of this bookstore-cum-cafe had come up in Delhi’s Khan Market in the year 1998. And it had been a paradise for book lovers. The news of its closure in Khan Market has saddened many regulars.
3. Pebble Street, Connaught Place
The restro-bar in the heart of Delhi’s Connaught Place, Pebble Street, was famous for its classy European decor and many used to adore its long island ice tea and roasted lamb leg. But it finally closed doors a month ago. Many other restaurants in the CP area are struggling to stay afloat with the lockdown restrictions in place. As per reports, referring to the shutdown, Abhishek Ahuja, the restaurant director has said, “With high rents and the current restrictions on operations due to the Covid pandemic, it became unsustainable to run the establishment; besides, I did not see things improving in the next few months. We were left with no choice.”
4. Sidewok, Khan Market
Sidewok had been offering delectable Pan-Asian cuisines since the last 16 years. They too had to pull their shutters down permanently. Regulars at Sidewok loved their exotic soups, dimsums, sushi, lamb, pork and seafood variants. While passing by the eatery, they will definitely remember the pleasing aroma and flavours of these comfort delicacies.
5. Smokey’s BBQ and Grill, Khan Market
Smokey’s BBQ and Grill was yet another restaurant in Khan Market known for its offbeat cocktails like Burn Bourbon Burn, Lock Stock & A Smokin’ Barrel, Killer Berry and more. If you’re someone who loved to take sips of these cocktails after a happy shopping session, we have got a piece of sad news for you. Like Smoke House Deli and Cafe Turtle, this eatery too has closed its Khan Market outlet.
After the COVID-19 pandemic, the eateries in India have faced an overall loss of over ₹1,00,000 crores. According to The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), over 5 lakh people in the industry have already lost their jobs. While the restaurants mentioned above have already closed their businesses, several other eateries in Delhi NCR’s Sector 29 Gurgaon and Connaught Place are in the dilemma of whether to continue businesses or shut down the properties.
Restaurateur Umang Tewari is planning to shutdown Garam Dharam in CP, as per reports. But he is still trying to have a word with the landlords. Rents of restaurants in Sector 29 Gurgaon range from ₹5 lakh to ₹10 lakh. Paying these thumping amounts without any inflow of cash has become a major challenge for the restaurants. We spoke to Anurag Katriar, the President of NRAI, to gain an insight into the impact of the pandemic on the restaurant industry as well as the revival of the restaurant space in a post-COVID environment.