A change of narrative on the risks of coronavirus will be needed to persuade middle-ground consumers to visits restaurants and bars, JKS Restaurants CEO Jyotin Sethi has told MCA’s The Conversation.

Sethi, who operates Gymkhana, Trishna and Brigadiers, said there was a risk averse consumer segment at one end of the spectrum, and a more carefree consumer at the extreme.

But he said the battleground for marginal businesses like restaurants would be in persuading those undecided in the middle to come back out.

Sethi said it was crucial to win over these consumers, or face a troubling period of trading coming out of lockdown.

He told the virtual event: “Even at two metres there’ll be some people out there who won’t want to come out that are completely risk averse. There’s some people who will come flying out of the tracks at one metre or even if you could sit as normal.

“I think the change narrative is really for the guys in the middle. People often talk about restaurants being a marginal business, in terms of marginal gains, marginal profits and margin loss.

“We as a community need to convince those guys that we’ve created safe operating environments for them to come and enjoy food and drink, because that will determine how well we trade through the summer, through to winter and going into Christmas.

“If we can’t convince those guys to come out, I think everybody’s going to be in a little bit of trouble.

“It’s going to be crucial to get people coming out when we are able to open, be that at two metres one metre or one and a half metre.”