Restaurant industry is passing through a tussle when it comes to running their restaurants and bars in India. From banning the liquor to be served on high way restaurants to service charge discretion, the industry has tested a sour business in last one year with 43 hotels, including a few five-stars, closing their bars on open terraces after the state excise department found they were using the daily club or temporary licence.
After almost two months when the excise department prohibited roof top restaurants from serving liquor, the BMC chief Ajoy Mehta approved the open air terrace restaurant policy clearing decks for permitting restaurants, bars and cafes on rooftops of buildings.
Announcing the new move Aaditya Thackeray took on Twitter, “Promise fulfilled. BMC has approved proposal for rooftop restaurants in commercial establishments/ buildings with all possible safeguards.” At a time when food business is touching new heights by opening of world class food hubs and promoting tourism via restaurant and food destination such move will benefit in a big way.
The group has also implemented new guidelines as there was no policy earlier. The restaurant owners used to take one-day party permits from the excise department. The excise department realised that there was corruption in this procedure as restaurant owners used this one day permit for weeks together. After rounds of investigation, the department ordered stoppage of one-day party permits to open air restaurants resulting in closure of many restaurants hurting the business in a big way.
According to the new draft approved the main attraction of the city lies in the ocean front. Opening restaurants of promenade is not possible, but rooftop restaurants can be considered to provide quality service to locals and tourists. BMC has also permitted to run rooftop restaurants in commercial malls or residential hotel buildings. But the policy says that refuge areas can’t be converted into hotels and all such building must have occupation certificate issued by BMC. The commissioner has not allowed any construction on terraces. The earlier proposed policy allowed toilets on the rooftop, but this policy does not allow any construction on rooftops apart from wash basins and a platform to serve eatables.
“We are happy that the Govt is doing its bit in encouraging tourism. It has been our plea to unlock the huge potential that terraces offer by allowing them to be operated as leisure or recreational spaces. Sky Bars and Roof-top Cafes are an emerging trend across the world and Mumbai despite being the commercial capital of India lacked the policy for allowing these activities. This is a welcome decision which many International tourists as well as Mumbaikars will appreciate,” says Dilip Datwani, President, HRAWI.
Hence, we can say that by allowing open air restaurants we can see the government promoting tourism in a way. However, there is more to go in terms of acceptance of adopting the international standards.