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Easing of night curbs brings back diners



Noida: With night curfew timings extended till 11 pm in Uttar Pradesh, things are looking up for the restaurant industry in Noida. Despite the heavy rain proving a dampener over the past two days, eateries across the city have reported a rise in the number of customers.

There are nearly 700 dine-in restaurants in Noida and Greater Noida. With Delhi staying open, most restaurants earlier were losing out on dinner profits to the neighbouring city.
“The time relaxation has been a huge relief for restaurants, though it has been just a few days. Overall, restaurants are seeing a 10-15% increase in business and we expect the number of customers to increase this week. Many people still don’t know that the curfew timing has been extended till 11 pm, so markets still start getting deserted by 9-9:30 pm,” said Varun Khera, head of the Noida chapter of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI).

Restaurateurs with eateries within malls said business has increased beyond expectations even as they were slower to catch up after the first lockdown. This time around the malls started getting increased footfall.

According to Amit Bagga, co-founder and CEO of Daryaganj Restaurant that recently opened up in Mall of India,

“The response has been much better than our expectations, especially since the relaxation in timings. We have seen about a 30% increase in business already, though we were expecting that dine-ins will pick up slowly.” The Daryaganj restaurants are located at five places across Delhi-NCR. It opened in Noida in August and is already serving dinner to about 50-60 people daily.

Meanwhile, the pubs and bars are still waiting for the night curfew to be lifted. Club owners complained that the current curfew timing only affects one business, while all others can operate.

“Delhi has all clubs and pubs open till late night now. People are going there. Meanwhile, we have paid extra for a ‘2 am license’ and there is no relaxation in the fee too. Still, we are operating as a restaurant. The party crowd usually starts coming in around 10 pm and leaves by 1 am-2 am. That crowd, which is 45-50% of our entire business, is not back,” said Ajeet Sharma, owner of Time Machine in Gardens Galleria Mall, Noida.

Sushil Kumar Jain, convener, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), said that traders have been seeking relaxation in curfew timings and the demands have been gradually met. The traders are hoping that the timings will be further relaxed soon.

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