A little over two years after opening for business at Sunshine Plaza Mall in Francistown, Chutney Restaurant has closed its doors in the second city.
The eatery, which specialized in Indian cuisine, was officially opened with much fanfare and pompon 11 June 2018.
The Ghetto outlet stretched Chutney’s reach across Botswana and increased their empire to three, with branches already established in Maun and Gaborone.
Sadly, on 1st November, the popular joint sold their last plates in both Francistown and Maun, having struggled with low sales since the outbreak of Covid-19.
Chutney is a family-owned business run by husband and wife duo, Sridharan Gopalakrishnan and Renuka Sridharan from India.
Explaining the difficult decision to close two of their restaurants, 56-year-old Gopalakrishnan told Voice Money it no longer made business sense to keep the operation running while not making enough to cover overheads.
“The closure of borders and international flights hit us really bad in Maun. We relied on both international and domestic tourists who visited the town, but the numbers were very low even with partial easing of restriction,” griped Gopalakrishnan.
He ruefully revealed the twin closure has left 20 young people unemployed.
“It was really painful for me to tell these young people that they couldn’t come to work anymore. There’s nothing I could do, in fact, I think I remained opened to keep them employed for a little longer,” he admitted.
Gopalakkrishna has put both the Francistown and Maun businesses up for sale, while he turns his focus to his flagship restaurant in Gaborone.
“Covid-19 has hit us hard, it’s a pity there’s no rescue plan for businesses like ours to at least help us keep these young people employed.”
The restaurant is famous for its rice delicacies such as biryani chicken, curd rice and sambar sadham. Their bread, including naan, roti and paratha, was also a hit with customers.
Chutney Restaurant expertly combined Indian cuisine with some delectable Chinese fusion to create a unique taste that has set them apart from other Indian restaurants.