NRAI bats for industry recovery

The apex industry body has reached out to malls and landlords for concessions on rent, and is also undertaking a CSR initiative to help member restaurants vaccinate their employees.

As the deadly second wave of Covid-19 continues to rage across the country, apex industry body, the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), has reached out to landlords and mall developers for concessions on rent and other fixed costs. With lockdowns imposed across multiple states, the dining-out business remains in a state of uncertainty.

The NRAI is seeking concessions on rent and fixed outgoing costs for restaurants, and asking landlords and malls to instead opt for a revenue sharing model.

While the March quarter saw the sector clawing its way back to recovery, with consumers slowly coming back to restaurants, the second wave has yet again crippled business. In this scenario, the NRAI has sent an open letter to 138 malls across more than 50 cities, seeking relief measures to soften the blow to the industry. Among the measures suggested are a revenue sharing model instead of minimum guarantee rent and a waiver of fixed outgoing costs.

“Unfortunately, the ongoing second wave has brought us to exactly where we were last year. To aggravate the problem, businesses have much depleted resources now, making the situation grimmer. We need your support once again to survive and we are sure that we will get your support as always. While we are not aware how long will this shutdown remain in place, but we are certain that the business will take several months to normalise post opening,” the letter said.

The NRAI’s CSR initiative VAX for Bars aims to reimburse member restaurants for getting their employees vaccinated.

Anurag Katriar, president of NRAI, said: “Landlords offered generous concessions to the industry during last year’s lockdown. But this time around, there’s a bigger challenge. Last year, we faced a resource crunch and many businesses had to shut down as a result. This second wave might hurt us a lot more in the long-term because of subdued consumer sentiments.”

In another move to help the industry recover, NRAI is also going to undertake VAX for Bars, a CSR initiative that aims to reimburse member restaurants for getting their employees vaccinated. The industry body hopes this will not only allow restaurants and bars to open up safely once lockdowns are lifted but also, boost consumer confidence and bring guests back to dining spaces.

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