New Delhi: As Maharashtra’s state tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray announced the move to allow Mumbai’s eateries, multiplexes, shopping centres and malls to remain open 24X7, last week, restaurant owners welcomed the move. The young minister announced that malls, multiplexes and restaurants located in non-residential areas could operate 24x7 starting 27 January. He, however, added that the rule is not mandatory and it’s left to the discretion of the businesses to remain open.

Restaurant owners Mint spoke to said that they are currently evaluating plans to stay open all night. “Yes, we do intended to extend our operating hours wherever permissible," said Riyaaz Amlani, CEO and MD, Impresario Entertainment and Hospitality, that runs popular restaurant brands such as Smoke House Deli, Salt Water Cafe, Social, The Tasting Room, among others. The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) called the move “progressive".

“It will help the businesses grow and also create more employment. Extra hours of commerce is one of the measures that can catapult us faster to the target of $5 Trillion economy," said Anurag Katriar, NRAI president and executive director and CEO, deGustibus.

The owners and operators will figure out the operating viability in the immediate term. In the long run, this will surely benefit all, Katriar added. Katriar whose company runs restaurants in the city said he plans to keep a few restaurants such as Tote on the Turf open till late night starting with weekends. He however added that it was too early to assess the benefits for remaining open all night.

The NRAI has been pitching for a late-night nightlife for the city of Mumbai for a few years now. Impresario’s Amlani added that while restaurants will see costs go up a little in terms of labour and electricity, rents will remain constant. “It’s not going to be an overnight revolution but slow and steady. The numbers will have the final say, but at least now the option to operate late is with the restaurant and not the government," he added.

The government’s decision is pro consumer, said Karan Kapur, director, Charcoal Concepts, that runs restaurants such as The Bombay Brasserie, and Punkah House.

Malls in the city are still figuring out a way to see how they can keep the premises open. This will include on-boarding tenants, including restaurants, retailers, and cinema halls. Lifestyle International’s Vasanth Kumar said that currently, for fashion, the shopping window is restricted from 10.30 am till 9.30 pm.

“Now we will evaluate extension of shopping hours based on customer consumption preferences, led by food and entertainment in the mall," Kumar managing director, Lifestyle International, that runs apparel stores such as Max, and Lifestyle told Mint.




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