Business Bureau :
The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) on Monday said it has requested the Government for a financial bailout package for the food service sector as over 70 lakh direct employees of the restaurant industry are facing a precarious situation due to the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier on March 18, NRAI had issued an advisory to all its members to shut down their dine-in operations till March 31, 2020 in view of the serious health risk to millions of employees and patrons in the food service sector due to COVID-19 outbreak in India, the association said in a statement.
The restaurant industry with an annual turnover of approximately Rs 4 lakh crore, providing direct employment to over 7 million Indians is in a very precarious situation currently, fighting a grim battle for its basic survival, NRAI President and CEO and ED of deGustibus Hospitality Anurag Katriar said. “ While preventing loss of direct jobs is our prime concern, we are also concerned about the dreams of many young entrepreneurs in the sector getting shattered due to this calamity,” he added. The restaurant industry operates with a very high proportion of fixed operating expenses which makes its business very high-risk even in case of moderate revenue fluctuations, Katriar said.
“We are therefore seeking support from everyone in the ecosystem in mitigating these fixed operating costs so that our losses are contained to manageable levels. The Union and the State Governments are two of the most important stakeholders and we are pinning lots of hope on them to bail us out of this unprecedented crisis,” he added. Some of the salient demands of NRAI are unempoyment, pay cover for the employees especially the marginal employees in the sector, deferment of all statutory dues at the central and state level, moratorium on bank loans, restoration of input tax credit on GST for the sector and a general invocation of force majeure clause in view of this global pandemic, he added.