Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Darshinis are fading away

Darshinis are fading away
Sruthy Susan Ullas | TNN

Bangalore: A frothing filter coffee with a steaming vada sambar at a darshini. This morning habit of many Bangaloreans might see an ambience change if things continue the way they are now. For Banglaore’s darshinis, the stand-and-eat outlets are slowly fading away, making way to sit-down restaurants.
Cost pressure, high rents, price hike of commodities, stiff competition from footpath vendors and shortage of skilled manpower like cooks are doing them out of business. There are over 2,000 darshinis in Bangalore and a fifth of them have shut down; many others are looking at an empty plate.
On an average, 6-10 of them either change hands or shut down every month, a trend seen in the past two years. “Around 400 darshinis have shut down in the city so far. It is mainly the new ones that have collapsed,” Vasudev Adiga, president, Bruhat Bangalore Hotels’ Association, told TOI.
The number of darshinis opening every year has halved compared to the previous years. “There was a period when darshinis were mushrooming throughout the city. In 2007-08 alone, around 300 darshinis had
opened. In 2009, the trend dropped by 50%,” Adiga said.
SHIFTING BASE
Many are moving out to other cities like Chennai and Hyderabad, thanks to low rental rates
While a restaurateur needs to pay on average Rs 100 per square foot as rent in Bangalore, rent comes to just Rs 30 in other cities, say hotel owners
Some hoteliers have moved to lucrative businesses like real estate, insurance and brokerage Many worries on darshinis’ plate TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Bangalore: Darshinis, the stand-and-eat outlets in the city, are bowing out, mainly due to price hike of commodities. “We cannot afford to raise the price of the food with the price hike of commodities. It would not get us customers. All we can do is to bear the loss and move on,” said Ramachandra Upadhya, president, Karnataka Pradesh Hotel and Restaurant Association and owner of a hotel.
Another of their worries is the competition from the footpath vendors. “They can sell food at a much cheaper rate as they need not pay for the overheads like rent, water, electricity or tax. They are the biggest threat to darshinis,” said Vasudev Adiga, Bruhat Bangalore Hotels’ Association.
The next on the list is the lack of skilled labourers. The biggest shortage in the hotel business is for South Indian cooks. In many hotels it is people from North India who cook South Indian food. “We have to pay at least Rs 10,000 per month to get cooks who can make South Indian cuisine,” said Upadhya.
Add to this the changing profile of the customers. “The IT boom made us feel the need for two and three star hotels. I feel darshinis will make way for these bigger hotels soon,” said J Crasta, president, Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industries.
However, the darshinis hope that Bangaloreans will still have them on their menu.

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