LAHORE: Most of the restaurants in Gulberg have been booked in advance for dinner during Eid holidays. Others have kept some tables for walk-in customers, managements of most restaurants say they have no space left for walk-in customers on the Eid day or the following day.
Basharat, a senior supervisor at Café Aylanto, believes the reason behind advance bookings is that people have gotten bored of eating at home. He says more people now prefer continental and western food to ‘greasy Pakistani specials’. He also believes that people want to avoid the effort that goes into preparing food.
“It is usual for us to get over a 100 orders the day after Eid,” he said.
He said that the restaurant has kept half of its seating capacity for walk-in customers. Only large families make reservations in advance, he added.
Ayaz Ahmad, who works at Yum, a Chinese restaurant, said the restaurant had been receiving reservation request for the Eid holidays during the last two weeks of Ramazan.
“We have reserved 60 per cent of our capacity. The rest will be used to accommodate walk-in customers,” he said.
He said more walk-in customers may be accommodated in case of last-minute cancellations.
Ahmad, who also supervises the operations at the adjacent English Tea House, said no reservation had been made there. He said people mostly visited the place for snacks, tea or coffee.
Employed with Yum for over a year, Ahmad said it was surprising to see ‘so many’ orders for dinner on the Eid day.
“Last year, we had many walk-in customers. This year, more people are booking and much earlier,” he added.
Ziafat, a restaurant on MM Alam Road that serves continental, Pakistani, and Chinese food, is already reserved for the three holidays. It had the capacity to seat 300 people. Its manager says it is the first time in several years.
“I guess people just want to go out to eat after a month-long fasting,” he said.
Cosa Nostra and La Tavola too have no space for walk-in customers on the Eid. Reservations for the third day are underway.
Olive Grill, another restaurant in Gulberg, is all booked for the Eid day.
Mustafa, the manager at Verandah Bistro, says families like to arrange get-togethers at restaurants. Having worked in the industry for more than 30 years, Mustafa says, eating out was expensive, but also a welcome change from routine.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2012.