After two years, restaurants and bars were finally able to run smoothly this year during Dashain. The global pandemic had forced restaurants to shut down causing huge losses for the businesses. With things getting back to normal, a difference in sales was also seen this year.
“We were surprised to see our sales increasing this Dashain because business usually goes down during the festival. About 90% of our customers are Nepalese people from Kathmandu and they are either out of the valley or are spending time with their families”,says Shushan Gurung, manager of KC’s Restaurant & Bar. “This year was probably different because people were tired of staying home”, he adds.
Ranak Basnet, owner of Tipsy Bamboo decided to keep the restaurant running during the festival this year. “Compared to last year, Dashain did help sales go up this year”, he says.
As the government protocols and restrictions loosened up, the business steadily started to increase for the restaurants. “Our sales were down by 60-80% when we were only permitted for takeaways, however as we were allowed to open up till 7 and then eventually till 9 at nights, people who enjoyed our vibe and the ambience helped increase our sales.”, adds Gurung.
For at least two months after the lockdown ended, business skyrocketed for Basnet. “People craved food and socializing. Business is doing amazing after the lockdown ended”, he says.
Like any other business sector, Gurung also had to overcome various obstacles and issues that came their way. “Working with limited staff and limited food menu was harder than we expected, we also couldn’t get our hands on imported liquor as the borders were not open yet.”, shares Gurung. Gurung explains how they are following safety measures and precautions throughout the duration of their business, “We only recalled limited staff that lived nearby to avoid commuting issues, then a PCR test was done for everyone to make sure they’re virus free.” They also kept a record of their customers in case of any virus outbreak, so they could inform the attendees immediately. Along with all these, usage of masks, sanitizer and temperature check at the entrance were all standard procedures as well.
Gurung recalls how this time, their customer flow and sales were the complete opposite of previous years’ Dashain. “Usually the sales would drastically go down during the festivities, but this time round I guess people were too bored staying inside their homes so the sales were going good. I hope the same continues and stays true for Tihar as well.”, Gurung estimates.
Basnet, being a musician on the side, has planned celebrations and events at his restaurant for Tihar. The increase of sales during Dashain has raised hopes for Tihar for him too. “We hope the events we are planning will help boost our sales even more”, he says.