New Delhi [India], October 22 (ANI): Chittaranjan Park, the most bustling area of Delhi during the season of 'Durga Puja,' will be wearing a deserted look this year due to the restrictions owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
As the organisers have restricted large-scale 'Puja' celebrations at CR Park this Navratri due to the ongoing pandemic, uncertainty has gripped eateries of the area and they have found refuge in online food delivery options.
ANI spoke to four food joints at CR Park's Market 1 to find out their business strategies to minimise business losses this year after being hardly hit during the lockdown.
Uncertainty was the common thing among all the restaurant owners and managers of CR Park this year. The first big question that was boggling in most of their minds was that since there is no pandal this time, why would people even bother to come to the market?
"We are not even sure of what is going to happen this time. There is no puja that is happening over here, there's no pandal and this is every time the main attraction why people from all over Delhi come here. That is the first big question mark...how many people will actually come?" said Kritika Bose, the owner of a non-vegetarian restaurant in the market 1 of CR Park.
"This year we have not done any special preparations, unlike every year. Whatever happens, we will keep in mind the hygiene factor, which will be the top priority. We are focusing more on home delivery options since more people will gather at homes this time. So we are hoping that they order food online," she added.
Highlighting the financial problems of the middle-class during the pandemic, Bose's husband Uma Maheshwaram who co-owns the restaurant along with her, said they are simply going with the flow this year.
"A major problem is that people who really spend, the middle-class people, they are not having money this year. To be very honest, we do not know what to do and we are going with the flow," said Uma Maheshwaram.
Arun Kumar, the 30-year-old manager of a food stall by the name 'The Rice,' on the other hand said since customers will have a hard time reaching his food stall this year, he is trying to make his stall reach more and more customers through different options.
"Already the business has been affected because of the pandemic. But we are pushing more on home deliveries this time to connect more to the customers. We are trying more and more to reach the customers as it is very difficult for the customers to reach us this time," said Arun.
Arun further said his eatery will be providing attractive offers along with home delivery options to customers this time as the customers themselves are at the receiving end of financial losses.
"How will the customers order food if they are struggling financially, that is why we are trying to bring out discounts so that it is feasible for more customers to order. We are trying to reach more homes," the 30-year-old said.
"We have put our pamphlets in newspapers as well and our delivery boys are also distributing it by themselves but off course the response is not how it is every time," he added.
Speaking on the same lines, Shambhu Kumar, manager at the Lucknow Central restaurant of CR Park told ANI that he too will be focusing more on online delivery options and will reduce the investment by almost 50 percent this time so that they do not incur much of financial losses.
"We are planning to give more discounts this time. We are reducing the investment too, we are reducing the food quantity to almost 50 per cent of what we used to sell on the normal Durga Puja days. This way we can minimise the loss," he said.
Moving a step ahead, Rahul Roy, the 24-year-old manager of the famous Kolkata Hot Kathi Rolls food joint, has adopted the strategy of taking his father's food business online.
He said besides partnering with online food delivery applications like Zomato and Swiggy, they have also created a page for their restaurant on photo-sharing platform Instagram so that it reaches more foodies.
"We are planning to take our business online. We have partnered with online partners like Zomato and Swiggy. We have also made a page on Instagram to reach more and more foodies. We will also be launching combo offers this time to attract more customers," Roy said.
One of the most affluent neighbourhoods of South Delhi, CR Park is the address for a large number of people from the Bengali community, and its markets are known as the hub for authentic Kolkata-style food stalls and cuisine.
Devotees and enthusiasts from across the national capital hogging the streets of CR Park after visiting Durga Puja pandals is a sight common every year during the festive season.
While COVID-19 has dampened the spirit of the festival this year, it surely has not dampened the foodie spirit of Bengalis as many customers in the area also told ANI that though they can not visit the restaurants this time, they will be ordering food online from their favourite CR Park restaurants to keep up with the festive spirit. (ANI)
CR Park eateries kick-off online food deliveries this festive season to counter COVID-19 restrictions
By Shagun Taank | Updated: Oct 22, 2020 14:59 IST