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Dog-friendly restaurants are taking off in Chennai, Bengaluru and Mumbai
Wednesday, 15 May, 2019, 15 : 00 PM [IST]
Jane Potter
An increasing number of dog-friendly restaurants have been opening, especially in the bigger cities, such as Chennai, Bengaluru and Mumbai. It is not just for the love of dogs though - having a dog-friendly restaurant can actually add significant value to one’s business. Research done by The Kennel Club has found that 98% of cafes, bars and restaurants that allowed dogs had an increase in profits. Before one thinks about inviting guests to dine with their pets however, it is worth considering the pros and cons.

Cleanliness and hygiene
Cleanliness is very important in India and dogs are not always the most hygienic animals. However if the owners are respectful and conscientious, then one need not be worrying about them making a mess in restaurant. One just needs to advise customers that only well-behaved dogs are welcome. If their pet is capable of sitting under the table quietly then it is acceptable to have them in the restaurant. On the other side, the idea of having dogs in a restaurant might not appeal to the guests that do not have pets with them. However there is a way around this - K9 Restro in Mangaluru actually split their restaurant into two - one dining room for guests with dogs and one for those who want to eat in a pet-free place.

A wider clientele
Having a dog-friendly restaurant has the advantage of bringing new customers in, creating extra income. A survey done by Compare the Market found that 46% of dog owners said that they would eat out more if they could take their pet with them. These are people that are drawn in by the inclusive atmosphere. For instance, Chingy Patel, the owner of Butters, Vile Parle, Mumbai, said that having pets gives their restaurant a happy atmosphere, by moving customer’s focus away from their smartphones and other technology.

One could even make a feature of the dog-friendly status by advertising to groups of dog walkers, or hosting special group events - inviting along dog behaviourists or veterinary experts to talk to guests. By allowing diners to bring their dogs into restaurant, one is providing a service that many other restaurants in India do not. This is something to be proud of.

An extra revenue stream
One could use one’s dog-friendly restaurant status to one’s advantage, by catering not only for human customers, but also for their pets. There is a huge trend at the moment for natural, unprocessed dog food - these are meals made from meat, fruit, vegetables, grains and pulses that would be visually appealing to both the dog and their owner. By offering meals and treats for dogs one could potentially create a new revenue stream. For instance ZooBar, Vile Parle (W), Mumbai, has on the menu Chicken Woof Woof, Paneer Steak and even cakes for canines. Some dog-friendly restaurants in India, such as Mutt Hutt in Mumbai, run by sisters Bhakti Bhukhanwala and Trupti Zaveri even offer birthday parties for pets and theme evenings.

There are pros and cons to having a dog-friendly restaurant. However ultimately one may find that allowing diners to bring their pets to dinner brings in lots of new customers and creates a good profit for one’s business.

(The author is a freelance writer)
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