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Although restaurants are following the mandatory pandemic containment protocols and safety measures, patrons are still wary about dining out, rue many restaurateurs. The restaurant sector which has already taken a big hit owing to the COVID-19 lockdown fear that unless they see an increase in footfalls, there is little hope of a turnaround in business.
To boost the restaurant industry in the eastern and north-eastern part of India, the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Eastern India (HRAEI) has floated a scheme called DOHO (Dine Out to Help Out) which they expect will encourage diners to visit restaurants and offer a survival route for the industry.
Readers may recall, the UK government was the first to introduce such a programme (Eat Out to Help Out launched by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak) which ran through August where people enjoyed up to 50 percent discount on their food and soft drinks at participating restaurants, which the latter looked upon as a timely boost to the devastated sector.
The HRAEI scheme, supported by IIHM (International Institute of Hotel Management), has been implemented since October 12, and is expected to run until November 12 this year except during Durga Puja (October 21 to 26). Hotels, restaurants, and cafés participating in the scheme will offer a flat discount of 20 percent on food and non-alcoholic beverages, between Monday and Thursday. However, the discount will be applicable on a minimum billing of Rs 500 and above.
According to Atikram Gupta, Assistant Secretary General, HRAEI, the discount will be an incentive for people to eat out while the participating restaurants will see an increase in footfall. Plans are afoot for promoting the event through digital and other media so that it reaches to the maximum number of people, he said.
The scheme is sans any frills such as obtaining vouchers and can also be combined with other discount schemes running at the participating establishments.
Not only standalone restaurants in Kolkata and other major cities in the eastern and north-eastern states are participating in the scheme but also restaurants run by the star hotels have also joined it. The list of participating hotels is available on the association’s website.
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