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It’s not over yet


From live indoor music to inviting guest DJs, the restaurant and café owners in Connaught Place go back to the basics for wooing their customers back as business drops by 40 per cent.

Rooftop and terrace restaurants had been a huge draw in reviving the food culture of Connaught Place but the recent cave-in and closure of these wings of around 21 rated outlets have made everybody see red. So what are these eateries doing to alter perceptions and yet retain their clientele?

“The question we have to ask ourselves is a bigger one, it’s not just a single issue we are dealing with here, we have to ask ourselves what kind of city we would like to live in. World over people love to sit out in open-air restaurants where they love to enjoy weather and feel the good atmospheric vibes. But in Delhi they are not allowing that. There needs to be a structured master plan. What is wrong with a privately owned open-area place which is not encroaching a street? When hawkers encroach a public space that is fine but when a licensed guy wants to serve hygienic platters and offer a good time to people…what’s wrong with that? I think there’s a lack of will to create a structure within this frame where these activities can be promoted and encouraged. It will lessen the charm of CP. NDMC needs to come up with a structured policy,” said Riyaaz Amlani, CEO and MD, Impresario Handmade Restaurants.

The sealing of rooftop sections of 21 open-air restaurants in Connaught Place has not only disappointed people who wish to have a drink in peace but has also irked the cafe owners who are now incurring severe losses due to the dwindling footfall. Umang Tewari, owner Vault café told us about a recent meeting with the chairperson of NDMC. “I am also the vice president of the Connaught Place restaurant association. Yesterday we had a meeting with NDMC and the chairman was very positive. He has asked us to get the structural proforma of our cafés; we are in touch with the engineers and we will submit them as soon as possible. We are quite hopeful.”

So how are the café owners dealing with the interim mess? “The terrace was the selling point of this place. Guests used to spend more time at the restaurant, drinking. Not everyone comes to the cafe to party or to listen to loud music. It is affecting our business. People who want to sit in the open area are choosing other markets like Hauz Khas, Nehru Place and Gurugram. If there is an open area which is not operational, you can’t do much about it. But we have been doing other marketing activities like inviting bands and guest DJs so that there is some attraction for people to sit and chill indoor also,” said, Akshay Anand, owner, 1 Cafe.

“We had a very positive meeting with the NDMC yesterday with the chairpersons. We have decided that we will be providing them with a structure test. Now we and NDMC, we are working together to make CP a better and safer place. Let’s hope the terraces will open very soon,” he added.

Ever since the sealing, the owners claim to have lost 40 per cent of the business, losing Rs2 to Rs3 lakh a day, on an average, weekends being worse. Anchit Kapil, owner, Bunta bar, told us, “It is the weather and the season where everybody wants to sit outside. We are introducing a lot of indoor activities; we are now talking more about the food, experimenting at the bar. We have live bands in our café but they are nowhere close to the terrace fun. The whole scenario of CP has gone down. The business has gone down to 40 per cent. Weekends are worst.”

The sealed establishments include My Bar Headquarters, Warehouse Cafe in D-block, The Vault Cafe in F-block, Kinbuck-2 and Kitchen Bar in C-block, Lord of the Drinks, Open House Cafe, Jungle Jamboree, Boombox Cafe, Farzi Cafe, House of Commons, Hotel Palace Heights, Office Canteen Bar, Luggage Room, Cafe OMG, Unplugged Courtyard, Barbeque Nation, TC Bar & Restaurant, Teddy Boy Restaurant and The Niche Restaurant and Cafe Public Connection.

Source: Daily Pioneer

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