Prominent customers come together to help revive Mumbai restaurant employing deaf & hard of hearing staff
Good news coming from Mumbai. Well-known restaurants Mirchi & Mime and Madeira & Mime in Powai have announced that they will not shut down after all. In July, the owners said they were forced to announce a close down due to plummeting revenues after the lockdown. In a city which is spoilt for choice when it comes to food, both the restaurants have carved a special place in people’s hearts, both for the food and their inclusive spirit.
The coronavirus lockdown has affected the food industry especially hard with many restaurants forced to shut down for good. Among those to call it a day due to crashing revenues were Mirchi & Mime and Madeira & Mime in Powai, Mumbai. Both these restaurants have attracted a strong and loyal customer base for the food, ambience and friendly staff, most of whom are people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
In July this year, Raja Sekhar Reddy and Shishir Gorle, founders of Squaremeal Foods, said they were forced to close down these two restaurants due to poor revenues.
Lockdown forces shutdown
“We were making ₹ 70 lakh at Mirchi and ₹ 60 lakh at Madeira”, said Reddy in a statement at the time. “In March, when our expenditure for the month was already done, we were down to ₹ 7-8 lakh per outlet. Our ₹ 1.5 crore revenue was down to ₹ 12 lakh. We had made a loss of over Rs 1 crore that month itself”, going on to add that their bank balance was zero.
Hearing the news a group of loyal patrons came together and launched a fundraiser for the 50 disabled staff members and wrote to the asset management company which owns the space where the restaurants are located. The good news is that both restaurants are back in business, according to this statement on Facebook on the Mirchi & Mime page.
Your favourite restaurants Mirchi & Mime and Madeira & Mime are opening soon. Thank you dear patrons and well-wishers for the overwhelming response of 4,000 messages after we announced our closure. Your wishes and efforts have helped us find new ways to make things work and restart and put smiles on our speech and hearing-impaired staff…We will see you soon with Covid-ready norms and the same taste of our food, and love and warmth of our staff. – Squaremeal Foods
The news has delighted many customers. Writing on the blog site CurlyTales, Tania Tarafdar said, “It is Mumbai’s first restaurant with a fully deaf-mute staff serving the food. The hospitality and food are so outstanding that this place always feels like home. I get smitten by the bright smiles of the staff every time I go there. Therefore, I cannot contain my happiness with the news of the restaurant relaunching after the announcement of its closure. Here are all the things that I missed the most about Mirchi & Mime”.
Vijaylakshmi Jayaraman Iyer called this the best news of the year and said “Best wishes to the entire team & especially all the wonderful staff”.