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Mumbai's restaurateurs wish for change

With a new government at the centre, the guide quizzed city restaurateurs on their expectations for the hospitality industry. They chose taxes and time as major concernsWith a new government at the centre, the guide quizzed city restaurateurs on their expectations for the hospitality industry. They chose taxes and time as major concerns

City restaurateurs have been asking for a thriving ambiance. (In pic) Café Mondegar. Pic/Shadab Khan
City restaurateurs have been asking for a thriving ambiance. (In pic) Café Mondegar. Pic/Shadab Khan

Mitesh Rangras, SID Hospitality
We hope that there is a control on the dollar price so that prices of commodities don’t flare up the way they do. There should be a national policy for the F&B businesses so that every state doesn’t have different laws for restaurant permits, excise, liquor permits, etc.

Mitesh Rangras

We should standardise tax percentages for liquor and food service across the country and there should be a single window clearance for all restaurant-related licenses. The challenges we face are high rentals and ever-changing prices for commodities due to various reasons like dollar prices and import laws.

Suved Lohia, Or-g and Villa 69
We hope that the new government passes the late night bill. Also, last year the excise duty was a lot, so we hope there is relaxation.

Suved Lohia

We pay big revenue to the government through big taxes. In the West, there are lots of extra-curricular activities, like going to Broadway, watching theatre but here, be it the common man or the upper-middle class, people usually eat out to celebrate. Keeping commercial rent in mind, which is high, we try to keep prices reasonable, and still produce quality food. If excise is reduced, we can source better ingredients and give a better culinary experience to our patrons.

Riyaaz Amlani, Impresario Foods
The F&B industry is heavily taxed and while we pay taxes, there is no input credit given. There should be an immediate implementation of the Goods and Service Tax (GST). A city gets its character from standalone restaurants; these must be given impetus.

Riyaaz Amlani

We need an industry status, subsidies and import benefits for standalone restaurants. A single window clearance would be helpful. There is also a heavy tax on imported products. We have abundant resources but what’s missing is quality. If the quality improves, we won’t need to import lamb or cheese from overseas.

Sanat Patel, O:h Cha Kitchen and Bar
Our hope is that the government gets more friendly to the organised F&B sector, which will in turn benefit the consumer.

Sanat Patel

Import procedures for raw materials need to be simplified, especially for perishables. Goods with a short shelf life lying uncleared result in F&B sector buying imported products at high prices (as the importer keeps a larger price buffer). This results in either the outlet pricing dishes higher or keeping prices lower with less margin so that the consumer does not suffer.

Hitesh Keswani, Silver Beach Cafe, Nom Nom, Park Bench, Copa and Jantar Mantar
We are looking forward to the single-window clearance that exists in Gujarat as well as collation of multiple taxes. Applying for each particular license carries on throughout the month and is exhausting.

Hitesh Keswani

One is also hoping for relaxation in timings, which will help in boosting tourism. Due to levying of several taxes such as Octroi and VAT, the consumer has to pay out of their pockets. As property rates are 500% more than what they should be, we are hoping they drop to realistic estimates.

Sanjana Patel, La Folie
Encourage international training schools to open in India. This has a direct impact on availability of trained chefs and other personnel.

Sanjana Patel

Support start-up companies by providing better funding options. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India needs to be streamlined due to lack of clarity as to what can and cannot be imported. Food labelling laws need to be standardised and information of the same needs to be transitioned to suppliers/food importers and manufacturers. Imported raw material is almost three times costlier than European prices. Import tax is too high, and should be revised.

Mihir Desai, The Big Bang Bar and Café
Currently, we require 28 licenses to open an F&B outlet. We need a single window clearance, which will reduce the time taken to open a new outlet. We currently pay service tax and VAT.

Mihir Desai

We can incorporate a single tax policy. We also have a 1.30 am closure deadline, which needs to be extended as Mumbai is a global city. Excise license fee is very high, which can be reduced. This will benefit the consumer as well. We can demarcate locations as entertainment areas, which will have extended deadlines. This will ensure residential areas are not disturbed. Singapore’s Clarke Quay is an ideal example.

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