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Dining out to Delivery: surviving the Pandemic with Goa’s restaurant industry

By Aishwarya Shah

The Goascape has always been littered with vignettes of rosy people gathered around pitchers of beer and piles of food. After Sunday mass, Catholic families step out for bhaji-pav in breakfast joints where the air is rife with the smell of pungent spices. In the evening, as the sun descends beyond the horizon to survey the other side of the world, the waiters in beach shacks scramble to rearrange the seating on the sand. Specials boards are rolled out, candles are lit and the soft twang of an acoustic guitar cuts into the sound of crashing waves, all to lure willing tourists into seats where they may feast upon delicacies galore.

It is safe to say that the current state of affairs is a far cry from this one. The pandemic has forced every industry to adapt overnight to the myriad restrictions and measures in novel ways.

In Goa, where the ritual of dining out is of great importance to locals and tourists alike, restaurants have had to reshuffle their entire food concept in order to survive the pandemic. Most restaurants have adopted a home delivery model in order to stay in business. People remain fearful of exploring this option and several restaurants are on the brink of closure.

Our systems are fragile, our economies even more so and without a spike in support for the restaurant industry, there is a chance that many will go under in the weeks to come. Perhaps, if we take a closer look at how the restaurant industry supports the community, we can try to do our bit in supporting the restaurants we love!

The happy days of dining out at Prana Cafe, Ashvem

Photo by Gemtrack

How restaurants support the community

As we bear witness to the fragility of a tourism dependent economy, all those who call Goa home are privy to the multitude of ways in which their ‘normal’ has collapsed. It is worth noting that the domino effect of destruction stretches on beyond what you can see at first glance. One of the hardest hit in this diversion from normality is the restaurant industry, which relies on social gatherings of all scales in order to flourish.