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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!


Empty restaurants call for relief on rent, tax, power usage



A restaurant owners’ body will urge malls and relevant government authorities to provide interim relief to counter a steep fall in business due to the impact of the Covid-19 virus outbreak.

Industry body National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) will seek relief on rents, energy costs, overall credit limits and taxation, as malls and restaurants have registered a 30-35% decline in footfalls with the spread of the infection in the country.

The association, which represents the interests of over five lakh small and big restaurants in India, also expects business to further drop following government orders to shut multiplexes and malls in New Delhi and Bengaluru.

“We will be writing to the malls and certain government bodies in the next 24 hours to seek interim relief,” said Anurag Katriar, president of NRAI. “Our biggest fear is unemployment,” he added.

Separately, NRAI has also written to the excise ministry in Maharashtra to stall a 15% increase in licence fees.

“We expect the mall owners and other landlords to either give a moratorium on the rents or at least majorly subsidize and rationalize the rents till such time that the impact of this epidemic doesn’t wean away,” a source familiar with the matter told ET. “We also expect the state governments and PSUs controlling energy supply, be it gas or electricity, to give us a moratorium or a massive discount till this situation comes under control,” he added.

Restaurant owners have also suggested aggressive measures to beat the loss in business.

These include deferment of principal and interest for three quarters, with the deferred amount to be paid over 12 months; a 4% reduction in working capital interest rates; 50% increase in working capital credit limits for a period of six months; 50% deferment of GST liability for the same period, and extension of existing licenses for six months without charge.

“The proportion of fixed operating expenses like rentals, manpower and energy in this business is very high… With revenue drop of this magnitude, it is going to cause mayhem with all food service operators making huge losses and job losses,” the source said.

Even as footfalls offline decline, it has not immediately resulted in online food ordering picking up momentum at the same pace, indicating that people are largely just getting more cautious about their consumption patterns and hygiene given the circumstances.

Earlier this week, the travel and hotel industry also made representations to the government, urging relief in taxation and waiving of GST to mitigate losses. “The current economic situation is quite grim ..and unprecedented… we expect and request all stakeholders, i.e., the government and the business partners like premise owners, to extend a friendly hand of support to us, lest the businesses die and massive amount of jobs are lost,” an NRAI member said.

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