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Hyderabad: Inflation forces restaurants shut in Old City

The rising inflation is heavily costing restaurants in the city with several managements deciding to shut down their business to avoid losses.

“About 40 percent of the management of medium level are thinking of winding up their business as they are unable to cope with the losses,” said a noted hotelier from the city, unwilling to be quoted.

The rise in prices of meat, chicken, vegetables, milk, pulses, firewood, charcoal and other essentials during the last year pushed the industry into crisis. Several restaurant owners are now trying hard to sell off their establishments to other restaurant owners and wind up their business.

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A businessman who runs a restaurant at Tolichowki told that so far three to four restaurant owners contacted him asking to take over their establishments.

“They are asking us to pay the goodwill or advance amount and take over the premises along with furniture and other furnishings. So far, we have not taken any decision on the offers because we ourselves are finding it difficult to run the businesses,” said the owner of another similar establishment, on condition of anonymity.

On average running a small ‘biryani restaurant’ requires around Rs. 25,000 a day to pay for the wages of staff, water expenses and other daily expenses.

“These are to be paid from the business,” pointed out another hotelier. In a small restaurant serving only Irani chai and snacks, an average expenditure is around Rs. 10,000 a day. At the end of the month, one has to pay the rent of the property also.

In the city, there are 5,000 restaurants and about 20 percent are engaged in the sale of food items like biryani and other Mughalai food/Chinese items.

“Sales have come down because people do not have the luxury to buy food from restaurants; instead they prefer to prepare it at home,” said Mohd Shafi, a restaurant owner from Misrigunj.

Not all hoteliers are ready to bear losses. “A few had simply shut down their establishments or scaled down their operations and waited for things to settle down. Increasing prices of the menu will not be a great idea as it will result in more losses due to a drop in customers,” Imtiyaz Ahmed, a restaurant owner from Bahadurpura said.

Unlike liquor shops, restaurants are not allowed to run past midnight in the city. “Sharp at 12 midnight, police come and close down the establishments. People are moving till the early hours of the next day and still police stick to their own primitive age policing. When bars and pubs are open they should allow restaurants to remain open,” said another restaurant owner.

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