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Consumers avoid visiting restaurants as Covid-19 cases rise: Survey

Citizens are concerned about catching the Covid-19 infection in restaurants and cafes as they are frequented by a variety of people

Coronavirus | restaurants

Peerzada Abrar  |  Bengaluru 

Staff members arrange plates on tables at Krystal Chopstick restaurant after authorities permitted to re-open eateries, during the fifth phase of COVID-19 nationwide lockdown, in Kolkata, Wednesday, June 10, 2020. (PTI)
Staff members arrange plates on tables at a restaurant

Only about 34 per cent citizens are likely to consume restaurant food in the next 2 months and most of them will order food at home instead of going for a dine out, according to a survey by community platform LocalCircles.

Citizens are concerned about catching the Covid-19 infection in and cafes as they are frequented by a variety of people.

LocalCircles said that studies indicate that are most prone to virus spread because of the droplets generated while consuming food. It said there is also the possibility of air transmission to others because of the centralised air conditioning system.

LocalCircles also referred to a recent study by the Centre for Disease Control, USA released on September 11, 2020. It has said that adults that tested positive for Covid-19 in July in America were twice as likely to have visited a restaurant or a coffee shop in the last 14 days.

LocalCircles conducted the survey to understand how the Indian citizens have consumed restaurant food in the past 60 days and how they plan to do it in the next two months.

The survey received over 33,000 responses from various parts of the country and the findings show that the struggle for will likely continue for longer than initially expected.

In the survey, when the consumers were asked how they expect to consume restaurant food in the next 60 days, only 3 per cent said they plan to visit restaurants several times.

Around 22 per cent said they have no such plans to visit restaurants and would do home delivery only a few times.

About 64 per cent said they have no plans to visit a restaurant nor would do home delivery of restaurant food.

The survey indicates that most people prefer ordering Indian cuisine much more than international cuisine in the country. This is especially true when it comes to Tier 2, 3 and 4 towns where international food choices are limited or non-existent.

Some restaurants in metros have been experimenting, by sending food trucks to large housing societies. Citizens were asked if they would consider consuming restaurant food if it came to their colony or society in a food truck. Even to this, 55 per cent said no, while only 28 per cent said yes. About 17 per cent were unsure about it.

The Ministry of Home Affairs allowed restaurants to restart operations under Unlock 1.0 from June 8, 2020. It has been 3 months since restaurants became operational. Although the industry was quite happy with the decision, consumers have largely stayed away from eating out due to the Covid-19 fear, according to LocalCircles.

The survey also asked the citizens about how they consumed the restaurant food in the last 60 days. About 21 per cent said they didn’t visit a restaurant but did home delivery of food a few times. About 72 per cent said they neither visited a restaurant nor did home delivery of food.

This means that only 28 per cent of citizens say they have consumed restaurant food in the last 60 days, and most did it by ordering the food at home. Food Aggregators like Swiggy and Zomato have been reporting approximately 50 per cent of sales recovery as compared to pre-Covid-19 including the supplies of groceries and essentials which they commenced in April 2020.

There have been reports that many restaurants and cafes have shut down shops as they were unable to recover even their operational costs due to lack of customers. Many others have said that they are barely hanging on. Restaurants are also seeking permissions from the Government to start ‘al fresco’ or open-air dining to ensure social distancing and minimise the risk of virus spread.

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First Published: Sun, September 13 2020. 22:32 IST