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Vegetables price rise hits hotels

Lavanya.M

CHENNAI: With the prices of vegetables soaring, most city restaurants have been acutely affected. While some restaurants have revised the prices of the dishes, others, wary of losing customers, are unable to take such a decision. Salem RR Restaurant near the Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus in Koyambedu had increased the cost of all items in the menu by Rs.5 each in the last few days. “Even this is not sufficient to compensate the increased price of vegetables and gas. But if we further hike the prices we stand to lose our customers,” says the owner. The use of vegetables such as onions is inevitable in the recipes, and such steep increase in the cost of the vegetables makes it difficult to cope, he adds.

According to R. Raj Kumar, Secretary, Chennai Hotels Association, the restaurants cannot increase the prices at a short notice, as they are in a service industry. “We will wait and watch for a week and if there is no alternative will be forced to raise the price,” he says, pointing out that bigger restaurants are in greater distress as their overhead expenses are more.Many of our customers who have restaurants are substituting a portion of the onions used with cabbage, and tomatoes with tamarind, says A. Balaji, a vegetable vendor in Koyambedu market “Some of the lower-end restaurants are buying damp onions since they are available at Rs.30 a kg as compared to Rs.80 for quality ones,” he adds.

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