Dough to door

Dough to door

Online food delivery

Dough to door

A few days into the implementation of India’s most significant tax reform since Independence, people are still grappling with the significance and consequences of GST on the many aspects of daily life, including food. In a city like Bengaluru, that is always on the go, ordering in food from the many delivery platforms is a given. So how has this been affected under the new tax regime?

Not very significantly is what the people on the ground say. “I have spoken to people and a few restaurant owners and they seem quite happy with the new structure,” says Nitin Hajela, a consultant with E&Y and a food reviewer.

“People are getting used to it and there is some confusion though. Like some bills will have the GST split into two — the state and the central portion. The overall total will be the actual GST rate but people see two taxes and they are like ‘what happened to the one tax thing?’” he adds.

Social media has been abuzz with pictures of bills for home delivery of food issued after the new tax structure. While some people are all praises for the clearer demarcation, others have been complaining about orders getting cancelled and higher costs. There have also been reports of people being charged varying rates by the same aggregator.

“There has been a price rise generally but I think restaurants are trying not to pass it on too much,” opines Soumali Chakraborty, senior marketing manager.

“I generally order my breakfast and ever since the introduction of GST, the total amount I am paying has gone up,  though marginally. For example, Bengalureans love their idli, sambhar, pongal combo. Say if this would have cost around Rs 100 earlier, the price has now gone up to Rs 105. It’s a slight increase but if the price of the food items is higher, then the pinch will also be higher.”

But Soumali is confident that this increase won’t deter foodies and others in the city, a sentiment echoed by Soham Shoney. “If I want to eat out, I will. It’s as simple as that. A slight increase in the tax won’t make me change my eating habits,” he says.

On the other end of the chain are the hotel owners and management, who are adopting a ‘wait and watch’ policy before pronouncing their judgement on the reform. “We are trying to figure out as we go. There has been some increase in our cost but considerable input credit is also being given so we are still not clear about the implications,” says Bert, a founder of ‘California Burritto’, adding that they haven’t changed the prices of their items yet.

Joseph Cherian, the owner of ‘48East’, agrees. “The real impact will be seen only over a period of time. Customers haven’t stopped ordering in and we don’t expect the trend to stop because of the variety and quality of food they find online. Our online partners also haven’t increased their charges yet.”

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