The Durga Puja festival in Kolkata saw a surge in business for restaurants and eateries, with a turnover of Rs 1,500 crore. However, food and beverage sales in malls were below expectations, as people preferred standalone restaurants.
The recently concluded Durga Puja festival in Kolkata witnessed a remarkable turnout at restaurants and eateries, resulting in a record-breaking turnover of Rs 1,500 crore. This surge in business was fueled by the higher footfall at pandals and the presence of thousands of foreign and domestic tourists in the city. Home deliveries also played a significant role, contributing around Rs 300 crore to the overall turnover.
Sudesh Poddar, the president of the Hotel & Restaurant Association of Eastern India, described the festival as a “blockbuster puja,” expressing regret that the business could have been even higher if they could accommodate more customers. The overbooked hotels in the city further attest to the influx of tourists during this period.
However, the scenario was different for food and beverage establishments in malls. Ramesh Pandey, the wholetime director at Ambuja Realty, which operates two City Centre malls, noted that restaurants and food courts in malls did not perform as well as expected, with sales remaining at similar levels to last year. People seemed to prefer standalone restaurants over the options available in malls.
Despite this, malls experienced a 20% increase in business compared to the previous year, with apparel stores generating the highest revenue in the run-up to the festival. The cumulative turnover from sales at the malls in Kolkata and Howrah was estimated to be around Rs 650-700 crore. Manmohan Bagree, the president of South City mall, revealed that the turnover from fashion, footwear, and F&B at their mall alone was Rs 175 crore in September and October.
Economist Abhirup Sarkar highlighted the significance of the Durga Puja economy in contributing to the demand-side of the state GDP. He noted that there was a demand problem during the lockdown, and the festival provided much-needed relief, leading to a resurgence in people’s spending habits.
In conclusion, the Durga Puja festival in Kolkata had a substantial impact on the city’s economy, particularly in the food and beverage sector. While restaurants and eateries witnessed a surge in business, food and beverage sales in malls fell short of expectations. Nevertheless, the overall business in malls, especially in apparel stores, showed a significant increase. The festival’s contribution to the state GDP and the revival of people’s spending habits are noteworthy aspects of the Durga Puja economy.