We get celebrities to give their take on a current issue each week and lend their perspective to a much-discussed topic. This week we talk about: Pay and pee rule
If you are going to be in South Delhi, you no longer need to hunt for a public washroom to relieve yourself. The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has issued directions to all hotels, restaurants and eateries in its jurisdiction to make their washrooms accessible to the public at a price of Rs 5 from April 1. We talk to restaurateurs about what they think about the move, and if the asking price (Rs 5) is the right amount or should there be a price at all:
Zorawar Kalra, Founder & Managing Director, Massive Restaurants Pvt. Ltd: ‘we wouldn’t charge folks to use our restroom’
First, we are going to follow whatever the law dictates. Secondly, I wouldn’t charge folks to use our restroom. Charging Rs 5 to use the facilities sounds strange to me. Even when people don’t eat or drink at our restaurants, we let them use the restrooms, and will continue to do so free of cost. Although, I want municipal corporations and governments to invest more in improving the infrastructure in cities. It feels like there is an urgent need to deal with the lack of infrastructure — there ought to be ways to manage the situation better.
Satish Menon, Ledhi Art Café, Kochi: ‘Patrons wouldn’t like the constant flow of public’
Even before this thought occurred to the authorities, I am sure most restaurateurs, including myself, have had the public walking in to make use of their washrooms. My café is situated near a stadium and when matches are scheduled, we have ladies and families requesting us to use our washrooms, and we gladly oblige. Imposing a fee of Rs 5 will turn our washrooms into a public toilet. Also, when money is charged, it becomes a service rather than a social gesture. It is not a good business model either — I don’t think the patrons of the café would like the constant flow of public walking in and out of washrooms when they are eating.
Samarth Kholkar, C.E.O, Cafe Mojo — Pub & Bistro: ‘The move will burden the service staff’
The move is progressive in terms of public health and hygiene, but it will also burden the service staff. Also, it would be difficult to filter the right crowd, if made mandatory as it directly affects the right to admission. Besides, being a pub, we have to be extra precautious to not allow the wrong crowd in and this will take away that filtering mechanism to a certain extent. I think, the service fee of Rs 5 may well be fine but the whole process of checking, collecting the amount and ensuring the person leaves the premises will mean extra monitoring.
Joy Singh, Co-Founder, Raasta: ‘The right to admission policy of a restaurant is nullified’
I think the move is progressive in many ways; it also goes hand in hand with the Government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to ensure public cleanliness and health. However, when there are so many people entering your restaurant, how will one know if they are customers or just someone who wants to use the washroom? Also, as a result of this, the right to admission policy of a restaurant is nullified. While I have my concerns on how this move will be implemented by the government, I am all in support of it.
Dinesh Arora, Owner, Tourist, Janpath: ‘We don’t want our guests to go through a queue to use our washrooms.’
It’s unfair for the industry as staffing is done as per the requirement of a restaurant. It will also lead to operational issues since we will need more staff for just escorting people in and out of washrooms. People dine out to enjoy and relax. The government won’t take the responsibility for anyone who just wants to use the washroom or pick-pockets at our restaurant. Our guests’ safety is our most important concern over here, allowing anyone into the premises would create hassle for other guests. Moreover, we don’t want our guests to go through a queue to use washrooms.