Kolkata’s markets are bustling with Pujo shoppers, many of whom opt to head straight to restaurants after spending hours perusing shops. Consequently, restaurants in the city are experiencing a noticeable increase in customers. However, for these restaurant owners, Durga Puja is just around the corner – a relatively brief period to adequately prepare for the anticipated surge. Additionally, they must account for the coinciding cricket World Cup. Most of these restaurateurs informed us that they are actively hiring more staff, enhancing their infrastructure, and revising their menus to efficiently accommodate the expected high volume of patrons.
From extra pay to minimising off days, restaurateurs are doing it all. “Just like weekends, we get a healthy turnout all through Durga Puja and the days leading upto it. We have got our backend projections, purchases and inventories all in place,” said Siddharth Kothari, owner, Peter Cat, Peter Hu? and Mocambo, adding, “Our aim is to reduce waiting time for our patrons. We minimise the off days of our staff during the festive season and give them extra pay.”
Sudhir Ahuja, the proprietor of Bakstage Gourmet, also mentioned the need for extra personnel in both the production and service teams during Pujo. “Besides hiring additional manpower, we’re running maintenance checks to ensure that things run smoothly. The menu is short and crisp to reduce waiting time & ensure faster production. The delivery business has become increasingly important, so we have created a customised special packaging to preserve the quality and taste of food.”
To cater to Pujo revellers, restaurants are going for structural expansion backed by more staff. “We have expanded our space because we’ll be organising food festivals on most festive days. Kolkata loves experimenting with different cuisines, so we’ll have a couple of pop-ups,” said Dominique Li, general manager, Momo I Am, adding, “We are also planning to hire more staff to execute this expansion efficiently.”
To this, Shiladitya Chaudhury, co-founder, Oudh 1590 & Chapter 2, added, “We have just added a large base kitchen to streamline standardisation.” Co-founder Debaditya Chaudhury added, “We are also recruiting additional staff for the kitchen and service section to cater to the high demand during Durga Puja.”
The cricket World Cup is set to commence in October, which means there will be an increase in watch parties, live screenings, and food delivery orders. “We’ll host a live screening of the matches for the city’s cricket loving crowd, which means more footfall,” said Ritesh Basu.
While live screenings will certainly increase the number of customers at restaurants and resto-pubs, the matches will also result in a higher volume of home deliveries. “On a festive or special day, we get more than 250 online orders and we work closely with the food and delivery aggregators to execute the deliveries efficiently,” said Dominique Li.