Demonetisation: Mumbai food joints notice drop in customers, incur loss

Updated: Nov 18, 2016, 20:47 IST | Asif Rizvi

The ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes appears to be hitting businesses across all quarters. Mumbai's street-side joints, which spring up only at night, haven't been spared of the ordeal

The ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes appears to be hitting businesses across all quarters. Mumbai’s street-side joints, which spring up only at night, haven’t been spared of the ordeal. According to owners, who run these popular food joints, the shortage of paper currency has caused a huge blow to them, as the number of customers has dropped to half in the last one week. Reason: Neither the owners, nor the customers, can procure change at that time of the hour.

mid-day went on a post midnight food-trail to check on these eateries. With business at an all-time low, most stall-owners had a similar story to share.

No change, no food orders

A few metres from Cooper Hospital in Vile Parle, a tiny eatery operates clandestinely, after dark. Delivery boys stand on the street, waving out to passing vehicles. However, since demonetisation, the waiters have barely been able to draw passers by to their stall.

Naushad Malik, a waiter, said, "I have been working in the same place for the past eight years. Our job is to halt vehicles, take orders and then rush to the cook." But, Malik admits that business has been unusually dry.

Irfan, the owner of the food joint said, "Ever since demonetisation, we have suffered hugely. In the beginning, some of the customers asked if we were accepting Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 notes. If we refused, they sped off in their cars. I used to have 50 customers each night, now barely 20 trickle in."

Free for all

The footpath outside Churchgate railway station is famous for its quick eats. But, the food business, which has been running for over several decades now, has witnessed a great slump.

Feroz Shaikh, who owns a snacks joint in the area, said, "I have been providing free snacks, including cheese bread, butter-jam toast to several people since the change in currency. What else can I do?"

"I don't have time to stand in the long queues at the banks to exchange the currency. I begin my business at 8 pm and stand here all night. I shut sop at 6 am and take another hour to reach home. When do I go to the banks?"

Earning, but without tips 

A juice centre that has been running near Mumbai Central railway station for the last 20 years is also facing the heat because of the ongoing crisis. 

Sikandar, the operator of the juice centre said, "I require at least Rs 10,000 worth of change of Rs 10, Rs 20 and Rs 50 notes to run my business, as many people come to me with R2,000. It has become extremely difficult for me. The government should have first ensured that currency notes of small denominations were made available in the market before implementing the new policy."

Mushtaq, a delivery boy at the stall, said, "Earlier, our patrons would tip us. But, with small change so hard to come by, that doesn’t happen anymore."

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