June 3, 2020
Nomad Heroes: Basu Ratnam and Inday
Even though the economic downturn in this global pandemic has left many seemingly helpless, Inday, an Indian-inspired eatery in NoMad, has risen to acts of altruism by feeding surrounding communities.
At 8 p.m. on Monday, March 16, Governor Cumo ordered all bars and restaurants to close up in an effort to help reduce the rapidly growing number of coronavirus cases.
“We were shocked,” said Inday founder Basu Ratnam (referring to himself and his staff) when they were notified of governor’s order. Ratnam has three Inday locations: the Nomad location at 1133 Broadway, 708 Third Avenue, and 570 Lexington Avenue. He is preparing to open another in Bryant Park. Although Ratnam had to shut down all of these locations, Ratnam kept his employees on the payroll for a time after closing to make sure that they had some sort of steady income.
However, Inday’s generosity and kindness for others did not stop there. On April 13, Ratnam opened his 708 Third Avenue location, not for pick-up or delivery for the general public, but solely for first responders. With only eight employees working in this location, Inday has been routinely serving from 300 to 500 meals per day to those on the front lines of the COVID-19 response at Weill Cornell and NYU Langone medical centers. Ratnam has also made it a part of his initiative to partner with Rethink Food, a nonprofit organization that works to recover excess food to provide low or no-cost meals to families during times of crisis.
Having led Inday through the difficult NYC restaurant market for the past four years, Ratnam understands what it is like to put one’s heart and soul into a restaurant. He also understands the struggle that restaurant and small business owners are going through now to survive, and he had this advice: “Top down is less important” at this time. Ratman recommends:
- listening to your team,
- preparing for the long haul, and
- working out deals that help others in business during these unique times.
By putting these strategies into practice, Ratnam re-opened Inday’s Midtown East location at 708 Third Avenue for takeout and delivery for the public as of June 1st. To keep the restaurant safe and in the best condition during this pandemic, Inday has rented a car and hired a driver to pick up and drop off employees so that they avoid public transportation. There are also several different shifts a day, a safe zone, and a policy for employees to take their temperature each day. All of these steps embody what Inday has shown itself to be: a restaurant that is there for its employees and the NYC community.
“There is a lot of opportunity for innovation, for change. We are going to come back from this. We all have to do our part,” says Ratnam.
You can be a Nomad Hero, too
With the continued shutdown due to COVID-19, thousands of restaurants have been dealing with numerous setbacks: staying open for only limited days and hours, furloughing 75 percent or more staff members, and even permanently closing. According to a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, four percent of New York’s restaurants had permanently closed after the start of the pandemic, with more expected to close in the near future. It’s a tough time, and they need our help.
Although our return to “normal” will be gradual, what should not be gradual is our high level of gratitude for those like Ratnam. Let’s remember to support the heroes who have helped us in more ways than we thought possible. They have helped keep our medical communities well-nourished. They have kept staff and customers safe. Most importantly, they have expressed their appreciation for others. We should do the same.
Click here to order online from Inday’s Midtown East location at 708 Third Avenue.
Open for pick-up and delivery, with pick-up hours 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.
You can also download their mobile app, “Inday App,” through the app store.
Visit their website here or call 646-928-0027 for more information.