Corona effect: Small hospitality businesses on the rise in small cities

by Mian Sarosh Mahmud

As we all know the current situation of the world business is going down day by day due to the spread of coronavirus, the situation in Pakistan is the same too.

The government of Pakistan has allowed many businesses to work during this pandemic but, out of the fear that has already penetrated into the people’s minds, the situation is not getting better rather people are quitting their businesses due to the permanent scarcity of clients in the market.

Interestingly, the situation is altogether different in small cities as compared to that of the big cities during the uproar of COVID-19. If we talk about the city Kasur in comparison with Lahore, small hospitality businesses are doing well in Kasur despite the threat of coronavirus.

In Lahore, universities and all other educational institutes are closed due to COVID-19 thus a big number of students and job holders are either not in the metropolitan city or it is facing the shortage of funds due to the cuts in salary or loss of a job. Business outlets near these institutes are also closed as nobody wants to pay rent or other utility bills when there is no business out there.

On the other hand, in Kasur, business opportunities are increasing even during this pandemic because students and other jobholders who were there in Lahore are spending holidays in the city nowadays.

As Kasur is one of the small cities, the spread of coronavirus is not that rapid here as it is in Lahore. Though this should not be a reason to move around people are seen rushing towards bazaars and food outlets without any fear of being caught by the virus. Those who are taking some precautionary measures are using the takeaway pr free delivery services.

In the last three months of COVID-19, at least five new hospitality businesses have started their operations in Kasur. It seems that the trend of fast food in this small city is increasing day by day as these five new food outlets are of fast food with a proper takeaway and free delivery services.

If we talk about small hospitality businesses in other small cities like Kasur, businesses like small tea stalls and burger or shwarma points are not only being opened but also taking new shape amid this pandemic.

Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has damaged the hospitality business at large as the restaurants and hotels which are closed due to the lockdown are unable to meet their needs hence are being winded up by their owners. Where there are many negative effects of this pandemic on the hospitality business, there are some positive things as well. This lockdown has encouraged the people who could start small businesses like tea stalls and burgers, shwarma points.

Online delivery businesses have also gone popular during this pandemic as people are more comfortable in ordering their food online. This activity has helped many jobless people as well who can earn from online outlets on a daily or weekly basis.

The owner of a very popular burger point ‘Top Taste’ in Kasur, when asked about the present condition of the business, said with a smile that in routine days he used to consume almost 20 kg chicken a day but after the lockdown, he was consuming almost 25 kg chicken a day. It shows that people in small cities are not taking this pandemic seriously and even lockdown is not a hurdle as people are ordering online.

The owner of a tea stall in Kasur, while responding to the same question, said that he was depressed in the beginning because people were not willing to sit in gatherings but now people are getting easy and business is working somehow.

It will not be wrong if we say that where the coronavirus pandemic has affected the fine dining restaurants in both big and small cities, at the same time, it has created a lot of opportunities for the quick service restaurants and take away outlets.

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