Mumbai State Government put a ban on production and use of all single-use disposable plastics on June 23rd, 2018. In another blow to the restaurant industry, restaurants in Mumbai are facing huge losses as the ban extends this time not simply to polythene packets but even disposables, cutlery, gloves and packaging material. All this has made takeaways and home deliveries an impossibility while also hindering kitchen operations for most restaurants. To know the detailed impact of the plastic ban in Mumbai on the restaurant space, read on.
How the Plastic Ban in Mumbai Has Affected Restaurants
As the plastic ban in Mumbai on single-use disposables plastic reaches its crescendo, restaurateurs make for the worst hit businessmen after meat and vegetable sellers. Mumbai high Court banned all single-use plastic in the state in the past week but in absence of any government-approved alternatives, business in the restaurant space continues to suffer.
More than half of a number of restaurants’ earnings are from takeaways and home deliveries but in the absence of plastic containers or even plastic packets, making food deliveries has become extremely difficult.
Some restaurants in this turn of events are asking the customers to come with their own containers for gravy items and liquids.
Dev Kamadh of Madras Cafe told Times of India that in the absence of delivery options, they are asking customers to come with their own containers to carry sambhar.
Food integrators like Zomato and Swiggy have asked various outlets to mark gravy items as ‘Out of Stock’ or ‘Outlet Shut’ in order to avoid sour customer experience. According to Ahar, restaurateurs have lost 20% of their business on an average because of non-delivery of liquids.
But it is not just takeaways and deliveries that are suffering; most kitchen employees wear plastic gloves while preparing food. Plastic gloves in restaurants dealing with fast food is a mandatory hygiene requirement. With the ban on plastic, a ban is extended to all these necessary plastic products which have put restaurateurs in a fix. There seems to be no way out as only dry food goes out for deliveries if it can be prepared that is.
Even within the restaurant space, the worst hit are smaller chains, dhabas and QSRs. Neither small chains nor dhabas can readily accommodate the cost of newer alternatives which are projected to be higher than plastics and will ultimately decrease profit margins. QSR’s, on the other hand, strive on takeaways and with that medium shut, are in for bigger losses in terms of opportunity cost.
Fine Imposed for Violating the Plastic Ban in Mumbai
The fine structure for the ban does not allow for any scope of negotiation. A first-time offender must pay a fine of Rs 5000, a second-time offender will be charged with a fine of Rs 10,000 and a third-time offender can face a fine of Rs 25,000 and up to three months in prison. Caught in a fix of law and order, restaurants in Mumbai have no choice but to stay shut or lose business till alternatives better than foil and cardboard can be procured. Some restaurants have even given their delivery boys steel containers for deliveries but all these steps can only go so far. Restaurateurs are expecting a new stock of Green Bags to hit the market but these containers will increase the price per delivery by at least Rs 20. While Green Bags are expected to cost approximately Rs 10, the paper containers would be for Rs 4 to Rs 7
As solutions are being looked into, restaurateurs have no choice but to wait. One thing is certain, the business lost coupled with an expected increase in delivery costs of the restaurants is another bad news for the industry that is already grappling with the existing government regulations and safety concerns.