As the festivities begin and everyone starts prepping for Eid in full swing, several restaurants throughout the country prepare for running their joints without a full staff on Eid. As we all make our way to dine at these restaurants, we often don’t think about the people behind the food and what it must take to keep restaurants open on Eid.
We spoke to restaurant owners in Lahore and asked them how difficult it is to operate a restaurant on a public holiday, this is what they had to say.
Running a restaurant on Eid requires more planning than normal but with the right team and people, everything is possible.
Scafe Bistro has been working with the same manager for over a decade and most of their staff, from baristas to waiters to the chef, have been with them for a long time as well. Consequently, they face far fewer management problems. Other restaurant owners who have not been in the culinary business for over a decade, do not feel the same way. Last minute cancellations are a routine.
Raza Ahmed of Bamboo Union told us that this is the first Eid that his popular Pan-Asian joint is going to remain open
The decision to open for dinner on Eid was made after consulting the head chef and manager. However, after everyone agreed and the marketing started, the junior staff started complaining and demanding time off. This is a common problem across the board. Since it is a public holiday on Eid, by law restauranters are supposed to pay overtime to their workers. In spite of the added bonuses, workers do not want to work on a statutory holiday.
While Bamboo Union managed to convince its workers with the right incentives, other restauranteurs were not as lucky.
Noor from Sarrak pe Karrak told us that every worker wants to go back to their gaoun on Eid and spend time with their families.
Though the restaurant suffers by closing down, keeping the establishment running on Eid becomes a logistical nightmare.
You can not expect workers to comply and stay back on account of monetary incentives, you have to give them room to decide for themselves and be prepared to open an understaffed restaurant that won’t be serving in full capacity, which often means serving a limited menu.
At the end of the day, opening a restaurant on Eid is a management call and last minute cancellations by the staff can cause the establishment to remain closed. While closing down a restaurant means zero sales, remaining open in spite of the overtime salaries ensures that the restaurant will at least break even. If the staffing permits, most establishments would ideally want to remain open.
Umer Hussain of Sweet Tooth told us that come rain or shine, his joint has not closed for even a single day ever since they opened.
The products they offer enable them to function with fewer employees. Besides, fast food production does not require trained chefs so substitutions are easy to manage.
If you’re going to dine out with your family on Eid, please remember that the staff serving you is doing so at the expense of their family time. Tip them with an open heart.
Although Eid is a Public holiday, not everyone adheres to Islam and small-scale businesses do not give time off to their Christian or Hindu workers on Eid. Most establishments do not offer their Christian staff an Eid bonus and reserve said bonus for Easter and Christmas. Non-Muslim employees are expected to work the Eid shift like any other regular day while the Muslim ones are given the day off.
For more information about what restaurants are open on Eid and for other information and restaurant deals, check out Hungerist.