• Hithesh Jain

Manipal's food industry post-pandemic

Tejas Srinivasan

4th November 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has been extremely brutal for entrepreneurs and business owners all around the world. For the small town of Manipal, it has been equally unpleasant. Manipal is a student town. The student population is what made this small town a vivacious one. However, the pandemic has made this lively town into a torpid one.

A good majority of restaurants and hospitality places primarily focused on students. The absence of the students caused the food industry of Manipal to take a sizeable financial loss. Many restaurants and eateries are discontinuing their operations due to lack of funds and other reasons like not having a source of income to pay rent for their respective hotels.

"With students leaving and it being such a student-dependent city, many restaurants are planning to shut down because of lack of money," said Jackie Maben, owner of The Basil Cafe Restaurant in Manipal.

While expressing his problems, he talked about how food delivery companies like Swiggy and Zomato had affected all the small restaurants' finances here in Manipal and Udupi. Many restaurant owners have complained about the unfair profit-making scheme and the significantly less profit return for the restaurants by these food delivery companies.

(Source: justdial)

"Food delivery companies take a larger percentage of the profit, leaving little to no profit for the restaurants," he added. He also said that sometimes these companies tend to increase their price on their respective applications if a restaurant needs to get a mild profit. "During these testing times, I am not prioritising making a profit as I need to pay my employees and get fresh raw ingredients. In the end, there is barely any profit left to make," he added when asked about finances during these testing times.

When asked about his plans for a post-pandemic world, he spoke about developing his own application from scratch called the 'uncle Jackie's app.' This application will serve as a cheaper alternative for ordering food online, at its original restaurant rate. He optimistically talked about his future plans and goals. "My target is hopefully by 2021 ending, I can sell a plate of biryani for 100 Rupees," he added.

The return of the students to the town is something every business is looking forward to. "I am eagerly waiting for the students to come back so that my restaurant can be loud and noisy with students talking loudly," he laughs and says while asked about the same.

Edited by: Sravanthi Neralla

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