Mumbai: Patrons help revive unique Powai restaurant
Prominent customers help owners and landlord keep afloat pioneering restaurant and bar, which employed 50 speech- and hearing-impaired staffers, but was going under in the pandemic
Restaurants Mirchi & Mime and Madeira & Mime in Powai, which were closed down in July due to plummeting revenues, have been brought back to life. A group of four patrons not only launched a fundraiser for the restaurants' 50 speech- and hearing-impaired employees, but also wrote to the asset management company that owns the property the restaurants operate out of.
The closure of the popular restaurants had broken the hearts of several loyal patrons. The restaurants together used to earn a monthly revenue of Rs 1.5 crore.
Rohit Dadlani, an investment banker by profession and his wife Nidhi Khanna who works for an IT company, along with two banker friends Tanisha Nahar and Priyadarshini Sundar, worked together to save their favourite restaurants.
"Some organisations don't deserve to perish. Mirchi & Mime and Madiera & Mime uplift the speech- and hearing-impaired. We wrote to the senior officials of Brookfield Asia, expressed our concerns as regular customers and requested them to find a solution. We were very happy to receive a response that on their front, they were looking into it," said Khanna.
the team of Madeira & Mime
"Madeira & Mime is a few blocks from my office and 3 km from my home. We frequented it for office celebrations and evenings with friends and family. Their staff makes all the difference and they have given us so many fond memories. When the staff were furloughed due to the pandemic, we were able to raise Rs 50,000. We are glad we did not stop there."
'We will be back'
"Our big factor was rent. Even after announcing the closure, we did not give up hope. We had a couple of meetings on new proposals with the landlords and they were very supportive and gave us a long-term deal," said co-founder Raja Sekhar Reddy.
"Scraping the restaurants was going to cost Rs 5 crore and saving them would cost Rs 2 crore. With a modest growth for eight months after opening, we would be able to safely go back to our pre-pandemic figures. Shishir and I put in Rs 50 lakh. We hope new investors or our existing ones chip in for the remaining Rs 1.5 crore," said Reddy, agreeing that it is a gamble.
The team of Mirchi & Mime
"The post-COVID-19 off-take is anybody's guess. But we will be able to figure it out with the new agreement. We terminated our existing agreement which was ending next year and entered into a five-year agreement. We will achieve our vision of opening a chain of 20 restaurants and provide employment to 500 speech- and hearing-impaired people," he said. The COVID-19 caused lockdown had brought down the revenue for founders Reddy and Shishir Gorle to one-tenth by April.
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