As the Coronavirus scare deepens more Hyderabadis avoiding crowded places as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus outbreak, the retail and restaurant industries in Hyderabad may be in for a nightmare.

Shopping malls in several parts of the state are already seeing an up to 20% decline in footfall. In Hyderabad , Warangal, and Karimnagar, authorities have mandated malls to close altogether.
The top eight cities of Telangana have 26 malls. “The closure of malls and multiplexes…has brought organised retail to a grinding halt. Even a short-term closure will have significant financial implications on retailers,” Anuj Kumar, AMalls Group managing director and CEO, told #KhabarLive.

At eateries, there has been a 40% fall in customers in the last 15 days, according to the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations (FHRA). “This figure could go up to 80% with more coronavirus cases likely to be reported in Hyderabad,” said Majeed Khan, vice-president of FHRAI.

Some of Hyderabad’s most favoured brands have fallen victim to the coronavirus-triggered slowdown.
For instance, women’s fashion brand Neeru’s said footfall at its four outlets has fallen 25% in the past four weeks.

Similarly, Telugu superstar Mahesh Babu -backed entertainment chain AMB revenue has fallen 35% in the past one month. “The coronavirus outbreak has led both business and leisure guests to halt their outings and travel,” said Jaydeep Reddy, general manager, marketing, AMB.

At fast food chain KFC, sales have dropped 15-20% sequentially over the past couple of weeks, its India managing director Samir Menon, told #KhabarLive.
Ditto for McDonald’s, which runs stores in Hyderabad . “Sales are falling daily. In the first two weeks of March, we have taken a hit of 20% on dine-in,” said Krishna Gupta, managing director, of the chain. “Holidays and festivals are traditionally a good time. This Holi, our sales dropped 30% year-on-year,” he added.

Eateries have taken a hit also because of the government’s decision to suspend all visas till April 13. For instance, Ohri’s, a popular eatery in Hyderabad has witnessed a 40% dip in sales in the first week of March, according to Vinayak Mallana, chef and partner.

“We expect the restaurant segment to take a hit of about 25-30% in coming weeks with people working from home, lack of corporate clients, cancellation of banquets, and events,” said Satish Meena, senior forecast analyst, Forrester.
Stakeholders in restaurant and retail business are taking measures to minimise damage caused by the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Neeru’s is focusing on online sales in a bid to make up for revenue losses in its brick-and-mortar stores.

Meanwhile, FHRA is hoping to get patrons to step out by assuring them of their safety. “We have asked all our restaurant members to remain vigilant.
Staff across restaurants is being trained to safely handle customers by following hygiene routine being promoted by the government. People in the industry are also being trained to calm down customers and encourage them not to spread rumours,” said Majeed Khan.

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Also, restaurants individually, too, are fighting Covid-19 threat.

“Each crew member at our place has been designated with a specific task to keep all raw materials, cutlery, crockery, furniture etc sanitised,” said Gupta of Ohri’s.

Katreiya Group is using thermal heat temperature guns to measure customers’ body temperature. It is also sanitising all contact points inside its kitchen and bar area.

Even so, both the F&B and retail industries will take time to recover and have to make some tough calls to contain losses, say industry players and analysts.

“With the spread of coronavirus, the sales and footfall will continue to see a downward slide for at least eight to 12 more weeks. We expect resurgence only in late 2020,” said Dhruv Bogras, country manager of Harvest Group.

Meanwhile, Care Ratings says industry stakeholders must make some tough decisions.

“With declining sales, players will have to control their fixed expenditure such as employee cost, power, and rentals. As a first step towards this, malls and restaurants could reconsider their operational hours to minimise the impact of falling footfall and lower sales,” said Darshini Kansara, deputy manager, industry research, Care Ratings. #KhabarLive
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A senior journalist having 25 years of experience in national and international publications and media houses across the globe in various positions. A multi-lingual personality with desk multi-tasking skills. He belongs to Hyderabad in India. Ahssanuddin's work is driven by his desire to create clarity, connection, and a shared sense of purpose through the power of the written word. His background as an writer informs his approach to writing. Years of analyzing text and building news means that adapting to a reporting voice, tone, and unique needs comes as second nature.