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As the voice of the Indian restaurant industry, we represent the interests of 500000+ restaurants & an industry valued @ USD 4 billion. Whether a chain or independent restaurant, the NRAI is here to help every step of the way. Join us!


Are Bengaluru hotspots shortchanging safety for survival?



Fire broke out in the wee hours of Monday morning at a city bar in Kalasipalya, which claimed the lives of five employees who were asleep at the premises. While the cause of the blaze and other details are being investigated, the incident raises concern over safety precautions that Bengaluru bars adopt. In the process of quick business and lucrative incentives, many restaurants, cafes and bars offer their premises as makeshift sleeping areas for their staff. Given that the kitchens have inflammable equipment along with alcohol as well, this makes one wonder whether the problem is more than what meets the eye. Former local National Restaurant Association of India head and restaurateur Ashish Kothare cites rule 13 from The Karnataka Excise License (General Conditions) Rules 1967. “It states, ‘the licensee shall not allow any person other than a member of his family or his authorized servant in the shop during nights after the time fixed for closing the shop’. It clearly states that one cannot make their staff stay in these establishments daily, unless there is some work required,” says Ashish.
An industry expert and restaurateur, on the basis of anonymyity, tells us, “While there is the obvious flouting of rules, there is another angle that needs to be considered. This has happened in an area like Kalasipalya and these bars and restaurants there are open usually at unearthly hours to cater to the labour class. These daily wage labourers, who wait there in the hope of being picked up by contractors, drink a lot to get themselves in the frame of mind to do the mammoth work they are subjected to. Most of these venues do their best business between 5 am and 7 am, when the labourers want to drink before their day begins. This is something that needs to be looked into as well.”

Two-thirds of the food services industry remains unorganized: NRAI Rahul Singh, President, National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), says, “Members of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) adhere to the fire norms and timelines as prescribed by the state or city. The last shift crew follows the closing check list which constitutes stock take, clean up, prepare tables for next day, sequential shut down of equipment, checking the fire panel, among others. The restaurant is then locked up. Sleeping in the premises is not permitted. Restaurants, by their essentiality of open flames in kitchen, hot equipment, electrical connections, cooking oils, cleaning chemicals, paper product and furniture, have all the ingredients for a fire to flame out of control. Fire protection deals with prevention, while fire fighting deals with cure in case of fire. Poor fire protection leads to necessity of fire fighting service. One cannot exist without the other. Unfortunately, two-thirds of the food services industry remains unorganized and susceptible to flouting norms, which tarnishes the image of the entire sector.”

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