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As there are more people who prefer to eat outside and as it becomes custom for people to have a couple of meals outside in a week, there has been heavy footfall in the restaurants after the said normal life is back. This has created a lot of challenges to the restaurant owners, restaurant owners share their view speaking with Chef Bharath. Some of the leading hoteliers across Tamil Nadu address how the rates on the restaurant menu cards witnessed a spike in the last three months, thanks to various factors including labour, raise in the commercial gas and more.
“As there is an increase for the raw materials like meat and other essential food items in the past 90 days, there have been challenges faced by us,” says Nawaz Buhari, Owner of Buhari Restaurant in Chennai. He also feels that at times, the quality of the vegetables is also not good and because of that the hoteliers get negative feedback from customers. Ultimately, they have to work extra carefully with the suppliers who provide them with good quality.
This demand created a pandemic in so many departments of a restaurant. For example, due to the shortage of labourers, there was not enough production of the raw material and so there is demand in supply. Thus this results in shortage of cash flow and labour.
My supply is based on my demand, says Karunaivel, Owner of UBM Hotel in Perundurai. “I have limited customers. Thus, I don’t see the quality issues. I procure things on a daily basis. Based on the demand from the customers, I procure the raw material. I depend on the nearby farm for the meat and have a regular supplier for my vegetables who knows my quality expectations,” he added.
Vijay, Proprietor, The Living Room, a restro-bar in Chennai says that the payment is the king of this supply chain mechanism. “If you treat your vendor right they will get you the right quality. It depends on the rapport you build with your vendors. I prefer paying my vendors twice a week. When the payments are on time, I am getting the best quality in the market. There is a chain of dealers linked in this deal. If the price of the raw material keeps increasing, I can’t compromise on the quality as this may give a bad image for the brand, this price hike is just an artificial push from the manufacturer so there will be a price drop soon. I can’t hold off with the same price if there is a price increase in the raw material. At the same time we can’t comprimes on the quality so we have to not lose the customer and at the same time treat the vendor well,” he outlined.
Navtej Singh, Proprietor of Bhangra Punjabi restaurant chain in Chennai sees the other side of the coin. According to him, the issue of quality raw materials is not a matter of concern. He expressed, “As far as Chennai, the supply and quality of raw materials are good. I see this as a myth created by a fraction of people in the sector that creates chaos. According to some sources, few restaurant owners use it as an excuse for the quality they provide. There is a price increase in raw material, as the demand increases the price is also going up. Getting quality raw material is purely based on the supplier. I have to pay more to get the best quality in the market. I cannot compromise on the quality and settle for a lower-priced product which will affect my business and the expectation that my customers have on this restaurant. I am paying INR 850 for a kilogram of mutton whereas there are other options at INR 600. It is the hotelier who decides between compromise on the quality which is served to the customer.”
As the prices of the raw materials are going up most of the hoteliers say one thing in common – As the cost of raw materials and procurement increase, the rates on the menu card will also see a spike.