Earnings of Muslim-owned restaurants down 90% since Easter

– All restaurants in Colombo lose Rs. 1 billion

Restaurants in Colombo and its suburbs have suffered a loss of over Rs. 1 billion since the Easter attacks, with Muslim-owned establishments hardest hit, former Chairman of the Restaurant Owners Association of Sri Lanka (ROASL) Asela Sampath told The Sunday Morning Business.

“The Muslim shops, in particular, have been affected and their earnings have dropped by 90%,” Sampath said.

Sampath stated that the earnings of restaurants under the ROASL have dropped by 60% following these incidents and it would take a minimum of two to three months to recover. However, he added that if the Government implements prompt and timely measures there was a possibility of early recovery.

He added that by the time curfew was announced on 21 April, restaurants had already prepared dinner – usually their peak time – but were unable to make any sales, causing a huge loss to restaurant owners.

As a result of a drastic drop in earnings, canteens and restaurants find it difficult to service their monthly rentals. According to Sampath, ROASL had requested the Ministry of Health, Nutrition, and Indigenous Medicine to provide concessions to the restaurants, particularly for the canteens at the hospitals.

Meanwhile, we spoke to Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association (SLRA) Chairman Hussain Sadique, who stated the industry was severely hit by the tragedy but was now in the process of recovering to its normal level.

“The loss is visible. People have not come and shopped, but it is now recovering. It is an unexpected improvement. The recovery is better than we expected.”

He added that the week following the Easter attacks was very dull for almost every industry including retail and a considerable loss was incurred during this period. However, he did not quantify the loss incurred by the retailers due to lack of data available at this point.

Sadique said that these attacks would have a short-term impact in retail sales but would not hinder the overall retail performance of 2019. However, he added that SLRA would take every possible measure to improve Sri Lanka’s retail industry.

SLRA, which operates under the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, represents the nine sectors of FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods) – clothing, fashion and jewellery, shelter and housing, household and consumer durables, footwear and accessories, e-commerce, mobility, entertainment, and healthcare and wellness.