Chennai: Even though the Tamil Nadu government has permitted restaurants to offer dine in service from Monday onwards, food outlets in Chennai are adopting a wait and watch approach, said industry officials.
On the other hand, hotels in other parts of the state have opened their shutters for diners.
Tamil Nadu government had allowed restaurants to offer dine-in service from Monday onwards. However, shopping malls continue to be closed in the state.
Popular vegetarian outlets in Chennai like the Ratna Cafe, Sangeetha and others have not resumed dine-in service.
"We will wait for another 10-15 days and then decide. Currently we offer only parcel of South Indian dishes," Rajat Kumar Singh, Branch Manager of the Mylapore outlet of Ratna Cafe told IANS.
Ratna Cafe has four outlets in Chennai and the speciality of the outlets is that they provide unlimited quantity of sambhar even with two idlis.
On the other hand, Vetri Vilaas, another South Indian vegetarian outlet, has started offering dine-in service.
"We got about 15 customers till afternoon while parcel sales was normal. During pre-Covid-19 days, we used get about 300 customers till lunch," P.T. Dinesh, Manager, Vetri Vilaas' Mylapore outlet, told IANS.
Industry officials said supplies of vegetables and others were not a problem but as the purchase volume has decreased, the input cost has gone up slightly.
A restaurant owner, not wanting to be identified, said eateries located in busy areas will do some parcel business and will also get some walk-ins.
On the other hand, outlets located in residential areas may not be getting diners.
Hoteliers to whom IANS spoke to said there has been no rate hike nor extra charges towards sanitisation as is being charged by some salons and hospitals.
They also said parcel business got the outlets about 10-30 per cent of their normal business.
Speaking to IANS, R. Srinivasan, Secretary, Tamil Nadu Hotel Association noted that a large number of restaurants outside Chennai have started offering dine-in service with 50 per cent seating capacity.
Srinivasan, who runs Vasan Tiffin, Vasan Dosa and Vasan Restaurant in Madurai, said the industry has asked the state government to allow the outlets to remain open till 10 p.m. instead of 9 p.m.
"Normally dinner service starts late in the evening and goes beyond 10 p.m," he said.