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COVID-19 takes toll, Baba ka Dhaba owners back in penury

Prasad opened a new restaurant from all the money he collected, built a new floor in his house and pared debts. He also bought smartphones for himself and his children

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | June 8, 2021 | Updated 15:02 IST
COVID-19 takes toll, Baba ka Dhaba owners back in penury
Baba ka Dhaba owners back to old dhaba

'Baba ka Dhaba' became an overnight sensation on social media last year. But as the pandemic continues its destruction, life seems to have come full circle for the dhaba owners Kanta Prasad and wife Badaami Devi. Footfall dried up at the new restaurant the duo had opened after an outpouring of donation forcing the husband-wife to return to their old dhaba where it all started.

After the video made by YouTuber Gaurav Wasan showing their hardships went viral, people donated generously to Prasad. The dhaba continued to see a queue of well-meaning customers who wanted to encourage the octogenarian.

Soon, Prasad opened a new restaurant from all the money he collected, built a new floor in his house and pared debts. He also bought smartphones for himself and his children. But the duo closed the new restaurant in February and returned to their old dhaba, stated a report in Hindustan Times.

Prasad said he invested Rs 5 lakh in the restaurant and hired three workers. Monthly expenditure was Rs 1 lakh, including Rs 35,000 for rent, Rs 36,000 for salaries and Rs 15,000 electricity, water bills as well as for ingredients. The average monthly sales never crossed Rs 40,000, said the dhaba owner. Prasad said that of the Rs 5 lakh investment, they managed to recover only Rs 36,000 from the sale of chairs, utensils and cooking machines.

He said, moreover, the fourth COVID-19 wave forced them to close their old dhaba for 17 days, pushing them to penury again. "Our daily sales have come down from Rs 3,500 before the lockdown to Rs 1,000 now. The income is not sufficient for our family of eight," said Prasad to the daily.

Now, the old dhaba is back to its original Indian fare including rice, pulses, and two vegetables, a step down from the expanded menu of Indian and Chinese food.

"All our money is gone. Our children are unemployed and we are old and cannot run the dhaba anymore. We hope the government will help us in some way," said Prasad's wife Badaami Devi.

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