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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!


Delhi: Reforms whet restaurants’ appetite



NEW DELHI: Restaurateur Deepak Tandon of Wok in the Clouds says he always dreams of the day when getting licences and permissions will be as hassle-free an experience for him as it is for his restaurant-owning friends abroad. There was some cheer for him, therefore, on Wednesday when chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the process to abolish unwanted licences, round-the-clock business, amendments in the existing excise policy and quarterly interest-free payments instead of half yearly payments. With such concerns of eatery owners addressed, Tandon expressed confidence of being able to brave the tough Covid era.

Former National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) president Rahul Singh of The Beer Café, who was present at the meeting with Kejriwal, defined it as the ‘mother of all meetings’. He joked that as a restaurateur he was used to running from one department to another to have a problem taken care of. But to be in a meeting with the CM and his entire cabinet, principal secretaries, department commissioners and heads, called to make operations easier for the restaurant industry and to be called the ‘Pride of Delhi’ and acknowledged as an employment generator was nothing short of ‘unbelievable’ for the NRAI president.

Singh, along with restaurateur and former NRAI president Riyaaz Amlani, had met the Delhi CM last week. They were assured of a meeting with all the heads of various pertinent department heads to ease the troubles faced by the industry. But that the promise was actually followed so quickly with a meeting of the authorities concerned and positive announcements were made has boosted the morale of the city restaurateurs.

The issues addressed by the CM on Wednesday were precisely the pain points for restaurant owners over the years. Priyank Sukhija of First Fiddle Restaurants said the intent to usher in these changes was the light at the end of the tunnel. While he still said he would wait and watch to see how the changes were implemented, he confided that if open spaces such as terraces and balconies were allowed to be used, operating time extended, alcohol procurement process eased and VAT and drinking age lowered, Delhi would become the safest nightlife hub in the country.

Amlani, who helms Impresario Entertainment and Hospitality, said the restaurant owners have regularly pointed out how the industry employed lakhs of people and yet remained one of the over-regulated sectors requiring multiple permits for operations. He hoped the meeting would offer a breakthrough on the problem of duplication of licences. “By deregulating the industry, more restaurants will open, and this will only generate more employment and help the tourism industry,” Amlani said, while insisting that the world’s most-visited cities were known for their nightlife and quality restaurants.

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