Thursday, July 22, 2010

Senior citizen discounts in Delhi

I do not know how I missed this news of last year. Can someone from Delhi confirm the current practice? Has this been successful? WE have a couple of members from "we care" mentioned in this news.  PVM

Grandmother of discounts, from eateries
- Hotel federation plans concessions for customers who bring along senior citizens
Old is gold

New Delhi, Sept. 25 (2009) : Next time you dine out, take your grandparents along. Apart from some quality family time, you may gain a few concessions.

The Federation of Hotels and Restaurants of India, the apex body of the hospitality industry, is planning discounts for customers who are accompanied by senior citizens.

"The idea is to encourage families to bring along the elderly who are normally left at home while the others dine out,'' said federation secretary-general Deepak Sharma. "We want to give it a try in the metros first, then we will extend it to the smaller cities."

Sharma said the federation's state chapters had been asked to discuss the proposal, and the final decision — as well as the discount percentage — would be left to individual restaurants. Some eateries in Chandigarh, which has a large population of well-to-do elderly, has already started the scheme, offering 15 to 20 per cent discounts.

If the elderly come alone, they are still entitled to the discount, but if they come in a group, the discount will apply to the overall bill. No documents showing age are likely to be needed.

To make the plan a success, the industry is also thinking of altering menus, offering more vegetarian and diabetic-friendly diets.

Such discounts are common in the West, and the suggestion to introduce them in India had come from NGOs working for the elderly.

"The elderly are the most affected by the social inclination towards the nuclear family. Even when they live with their children, they are rarely made a part of family outings," said Uma Ganapathy of We Care. "If the hotels come forward with this kind of proposal, the young generation will be encouraged to take their grandparents out for lunch or dinner. It will also mean more business for the hotel industry."

Ganapathy, however, insisted that restaurants had to be a lot more sensitive towards elderly customers.

She cited studies to suggest that it was very important for elderly diners to be made to feel they were valued customers.

"It will be individual attention rather than speed of service that will satisfy elderly people. It is necessary for (restaurant) staff to understand this,'' she said.

Sharma said the hotel industry planned to sensitise staff to the requirements of the aged. "Their requirements may be different from those of the rest, and staff will have to learn how to provide a warm and friendly atmosphere and make them feel important."

The proposal has enthused many. "My naani (grandmother) has never dined out with us despite many requests because she fears she would not be comfortable in a hotel," said Anshika Sharma, 15, of Karol Bagh.

"But if there are going to be elderly-sensitive arrangements, I will make sure she comes out with us the next time."

"I rarely dine out with my children despite their requests since I have never enjoyed it," said G.S. Amrohi, a septuagenarian who lives in Eastern Kailash. "But if there is a discount offer, I may go with them the next time."

Ganapathy, however, warned that families too needed to be sensitive. "There will be a tendency among the younger generation to use the elderly as a discount coupon,'' she said.

Dr P Vyasamoorthy, 30 Gruhalakshmi Colony Secunderabad 500015 Ph 040-27846631 / 9490804278.
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