When: 14 - 18 September
Where: 50+ Restaurants around kathmandu
More new restaurants open every year than any other single business in cities around the world. That’s what I read somewhere. And, I also read that more restaurants go out of business every year than any other single business.
Now, that’s a pretty foreboding statistic, particularly for a city like Kathmandu, where restaurants are cropping up with alarming speed all over the neighborhoods. There are some areas that are so neck deep in eateries that it’s really hard to see how any will flourish. What’s more, there seems to be more on the way. Truly, we do not lack in optimists!
Fact is, the restaurant business isn’t the only one to suffer from this trend. There are quite a few other businesses that are similarly affected, grocery stores, for example. Of course, for people like you and me, it’s all good. More the merrier! But, for all those enterprising optimists, it’s a question of their investments going down the drain.
The restaurant business is one where you got to spend a heap to create a great ambience. Décor is vital, and it doesn’t come cheap. Then, you got to have a cook (chef, if he has a culinary degree, or years of experience under a seasoned chef), and he too doesn’t come cheap. Additionally, if he is outstanding, you got to keep a constant eye out to ensure that he’s not lured away by a rival eatery. Then, on top of everything, the restaurant business is a ‘perishable’ business, since everything in the kitchen and in the store is easily perishable in a short period of time.
But, no matter! Our enterprising restaurateurs are mostly the never-say-die kind, and so they spend considerable time and energy trying out ever-newer tricks to try and make their establishment stand out from the crowd. It’s not easy. For one thing, the economics of scale (due to limited number of customers) is such as to balloon up menu prices, and for another, the Nepali rupee has so little value that prices give the perception of being pretty inflated. I mean, you pay 10 dollars or so in the U.S. and get a good meal, and the figure ‘10’ doesn’t seem much. Same thing here would translate to 1,000, and that appears to be, wow, so much?
So, you see, no matter what tricks our restaurateurs try out, the bottom line is that there’s too much competition (resulting in fewer customers), and perception of costs of eating out is not in restaurants’ favor. Eating out with the family is thus generally a once-in-a-blue-moon affair. Young fellers, too, have it rough nowadays; it isn’t so easy anymore to take your gal for a romantic dinner. What all this boils down to is that, restaurants are having a difficult time cultivating a flock of regulars.
Actually, that’s what’s needed—regular customers! That’s what will ensure that a restaurant keeps on running smoothly, and perhaps, prosper in due time. Yes, prosper, like some of the better known ones around the city that seem to be doing fantastically well. Doubtless, they have been in the business longer, and doubtless, they have managed to gain their flock of regulars, and maybe some have been fortunate in things like location—being in the right place at the right time.
Anyway, the majority of our enterprising restaurateurs are clearly in need of a healthy boost, and that’s what we (meaning Fr!day, the smarter city magazine) will be giving in the coming days with the Fr!day Restaurant Week, which will see scores of restaurants all over Kathmandu hopefully receiving many new customers. We’ll be promoting, quite heavily, all the participating restaurants, and what they have to offer, much beforehand, and during Restaurant Week. We’ll be informing all ECS Nepal, Living, Wedding Bells, Build, and Fr!day readers and subscribers, as well as the larger public, about the special attractions awaiting them throughout Restaurant Week. All this is what we will be doing.
We are confident that our excellent restaurants will also leave no stone unturned, or rather, no coal unburned, to ensure the complete satisfaction of their customers with great food and impeccable service. So, should we then say, bon appetite?