As the Haryana government gave its nod to the 24×7 operation of restaurants in the state, eateries in Gurugram are overjoyed, hoping to cash in on late-night cravings of residents and round-the-clock working MNC employees.
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Several restaurants of the city, an IT hub, said they can’t wait to serve late night and early morning diners with piping hot food and chilled drinks, even though security remains the foremost concern of most restaurateurs.
Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala on Tuesday allowed all restaurants across the state to remain open 24×7, making it the only state in north India to do so.
“I’m thrilled about the Haryana government’s decision to allow restaurants to operate 24×7 in the state. For instance, the corporate offices function all day and the decision can benefit those employees whose shifts are according to international timings…They’ll be able to dine at restaurants late at night rather than having to eat packaged food or order online from cloud kitchens,” Sahil Sambhi, owner of VietNom in Cyber Hub and Worldmark, told PTI.
So, be it satiating midnight hunger pangs of residents, providing a comfortable place and a wholesome spread to those working in graveyard shifts, giving a push to the city’s nighttime economy or even employment generation, the decision by the state government, according to Priykant Gautam, director of Simpatico Hospitality Pvt Ltd, is a win-win for both customers and restaurateurs.
Notably, eateries, wanting to remain open 24 hours, will have to register with the Labour Department and follow other terms and conditions of the Punjab Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1958.
“Allowing restaurants to operate round-the-clock can provide greater convenience to residents… It may also boost the local economy by generating employment opportunities and increasing revenue for restaurant owners.
“Extended operating hours may provide more social spaces for people to gather, dine, and engage in recreational activities. This could enhance social interactions and contribute to a vibrant nightlife culture,” said Gautam, owner of Greek-themed restaurant Plaka in Cyber Hub.
Extending operating hours would also mean a hike in operational costs — more employees, infrastructure, and security arrangements. Most restaurant owners, hopeful to bear the expenses with a prospective jump in the business, said they’ll make the required changes and “look forward to participate in the round-the-clock service module”.
“There’s a clientele for late night food. We believe we will have to make changes in terms of hiring more staff and setting up a few processes to be able to operate 24×7 and to fulfil the new set of customers,” said Sajat Jain, co-founder and CEO of House of Wok in Sushant Lok.
But, as is the case in most new endeavours, the excitement is clouded by apprehension too — with many posing the security question.
While Sambhi of VietNom suggested “regular patrols” and “visibility of law enforcement personnel” to provide a sense of security for both customers and restaurant staff, Brajesh Arya from Gola Sizzlers said it is imperative to address security concerns promptly before considering any expansion or relaxation of dining hours.
“Given the present circumstances, we remain cautious about the safety of late night diners. We strongly recommend that the government prioritize the establishment of a robust support system that builds confidence and ensures the safety of individuals who wish to venture out freely,” said Arya, chief strategy officer at Gola Sizzlers, a growing chain of specialty dining restaurants in Delhi-NCR.
The restaurant chain, not sure if their customers — primarily consisting of families — would like to dine in during late hours, said it will closely observe the evolving circumstances and make the decision accordingly.
The likes of Harajuku Tokyo Cafe, a popular Japanese restaurant located in Ambience Mall, are also less excited about the round-the-clock opening of food joints due to their “target audience” and “location”.
According to Gaurav Kanwar, founder of Harajuku Tokyo Cafe, restaurant owners should “assess the demand, cost implications, and logistical challenges” before coming to any decision.
“For restaurants like us located in high-end malls, it doesn’t make sense. We don’t have that sort of clientele and even if we do, the numbers will be very less proportionately. Moreover, operating costs can be significantly higher during night hours, including staffing, security, and utilities,” he explained.
Last December, the Delhi government allowed restaurants and bars in five- and four-star hotels to operate 24 hours.