Restaurant owners who have their business along the coast depend mostly on the tourism sector. And yet, although arrivals to Mauritius have increase since last year, the situation has remained the same in the restaurants. There is a waiter at La Cravache Dor Restaurant says that even with the increase in tourists in the country but it does not mean that they eat in their restaurant. Most of them like to stay in the hotel for breakfast, lunch and dinner; especially those who only want to relax by the beach or poolside of their hotel. As for the local customers, the owner of the restaurant says that there are less Mauritians because of the rise in the cost of living. There are many factors influencing the decrease in the number of Mauritians in the restaurants. The main reason being everything is getting more and more expensive and so people became choosier in what they eat. They do not just want quality but they would think twice about the cost of what they would eat.
As for the restaurant Au Fin Bec, the Manager says that the number of tourist customers is low at the moment because it is the low season. They usually receive more customers from other countries in the summer, but right now customers coming to eat in their restaurant is rather few because it is the low season. They are waiting for the usual inflow of tourists at the end of July. Whereas the Director of Sakura Restaurant at Grand Baie says that when the low season ends and with the coming of August, tourist from Reunion Island come to visit Mauritius. Before the month of July, they usually have a low season, but during the next few weeks visitors for Reunion Island come to their restaurant to give them a boost.
However, whether it is low or high season, businessmen who own restaurants have to encounter a high level of competition. It does not matter whether you specialize in Japanese or European or Indian food because people will always seek a place where they can get value for money. There are several Japanese restaurants in Mauritius and they will find the one that gives the best quality for a moderate price. The Director of Sakura also reminds us that though they have increase the variety of menus to give their customer a wider choice, yet the competition has become more and more tough. At the hotels where they have come to stay, the tourists are having whatever they want as food so they is no need for them to move outside the hotels to find some other things else.
Another problem facing the owners of the restaurants is the lack of manpower. Most of the restaurants based in small coastal villages can hardly find people to work for them because the inhabitants in the surrounding area prefer to work in a big hotel. The hotel management can import labor, whereas the small restaurant cannot do so. Most of the chefs are not prepared to work for small restaurants because they are tempted to work for the hotel where they are paid with better remuneration package. The Sakura Restaurant has trained many chefs during the past 21 years, but many of them have left to work for the hotels. As soon as the hotels spot a good chef, they offer them a job in their institution, so the owners of the restaurant have to restart the training of another chef.
17th July 2007