PUNE: The stalemate in the state over forming of the government has irked hotel owners in the city as there has been no regulation on the rising price of the onion. The hotel owners have threatened that if the situation does not improve in a week, they will be left with no choice than ‘removing’ the onion from their dishes.
“Around 70 per cent of the dishes that we serve have onion as one of the primary ingredients. The increased rates have changed all our calculations. With falling profit margins, we won’t be able to bear the losses for more time. I fear that if this continues, we may have to raise the prices of our menu too,” Pune Restaurants and Hoteliers Association (PRAHA) President Ganesh Shetty said.
Various reports from the agriculture department suggested that onion prices may continue to remain high till January 2020. Currently, the retail rate of onions oscillates between Rs 100 to 120.
Shetty added that getting new menu cards printed has also been a very difficult task.
“We will have to spend at least Rs 25,000 on getting new many cards printed, which is an additional expenditure. We hope that a government is formed and they regularise the prices,” he said.
Not served unless asked for
According to per Shetty, most restaurants have stopped serving onions as salad unless customers ask for it.
“We have this norm of serving onions cut into four pieces and lemon slices before the food is served. Many a time, customers don’t even eat all pieces but kept in open for a long time, these pieces get wasted. Hence, now many of the restaurants have decided not to serve onions unless asked for. Same goes with the salad that is served with several dishes. This has reduced the usage as well as wastage of onions significantly,” he added.
Pushkaraj Mohite, who runs a catering business in the city, stated that replacing onions has been one of the measures restaurateurs and caterers have been resorting to.
“We cannot raise our prices, as it makes a really bad impression in front of the customers. So we are trying to limit the use of onions. However, I agree that this affects the quality of the dishes that we serve, so we cannot keep using lesser onions for a long time. The onion prices need to come down soon,” Mohite said.
Sunil Bhosale, who sells pohe every morning at Shagun Chowk said, “There was no scope for me to increase the rates of pohe, as I already sell it at Rs 15 per plate, while several competitors sell it at Rs 10 or 12 per plate. But nowadays, I fear that using less amount of onion in the pohe might affect the quality of the dish. If I cannot maintain the quality, why will my customers choose me over others? It’s a difficult situation.”
Need for import
If the onion is imported, it may help bring the rates down by at least 10 to 20 per cent. However, unless a stable government is formed in the state, no decision regarding import will be made.
“The onion prices are five times higher than normal, the government needs to bring in some regulations, otherwise hoteliers (both small and big) will find it very difficult to sustain
themselves,” Shetty said.