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Restaurateurs and retailers seek liquidity support to ride COVID second wave



As COVID-19 cases in India continue to spike, restaurants, non-essentials and malls are shut across all major states. Most state governments have permitted only delivery and limited takeaways for restaurants.

To assess the impact on business CNBC-TV18 spoke to Anurag Katriar, President at National Restaurant Association of India and Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO at Retailers Association of India.

On delivery versus dine-ins, Katriar said, “It is a big misnomer that deliveries can replace the restaurant business. They can at best be an augmentation to the restaurant revenue. There is fine dining which has absolutely no benefit of delivery only scenario, so is catering, so is bars, pubs, night clubs everything. Even coffee shops are showing very limited offtake on deliveries.”

“Then we have casual and affordable casual dining restaurants, about 10-15 percent of their revenues used to come from deliveries, they continue to have that kind of numbers,” he added.

Rajagopalan said, “All of us agree that this time the problem is much larger at least by numbers. On the retail part, some of the states have still retained what they did last year which means for a political reason they do not want to allow e-commerce to operate, they do not want delivery of non-essentials. There is a clear impact on those sectors which are not food and that is a large segment.”

On the emergency credit line guarantee scheme (ECLGS) Rajagopalan said, “There is no clarification on ECLGS 2.0, whether or not the retail industry is included there. That is the clarification we have sought from the finance ministry. We would require a moratorium, because if the stores are shut how would you really pay anything at all so the moratorium requirement comes back. We also need working capital, our expenditure is still on, we have to pay rent, minimum electricity charges, etc. On one hand, you have been asked to shut the stores we have not got any support of these fronts which are expenditures which we are paying to the government and there we expect some support.”

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