Mysuru: Onion Dosa, popularly known as ‘Eerulli Dosa’ or ‘Onion Uthappa’, the most sought-after snack among the residents of city with a dollop of butter on top of a steaming dosa, is now reducing in size in many eating joints and hotels. With the rise in onion prices, most restaurants and hotels in the city have reduced the size of this delicious item.
Onions are now a gourmet commodity. The retail price of onion stands at Rs. 120 per kg for big variety, Rs. 100 for medium variety and Rs. 85 to Rs. 90 for small variety. Good quality onions are being sold at Rs. 125 to Rs. 130 per kg. The dwindling of supply of onion due to floods and an increase in production costs are some of the reasons for the soaring prices of onion.
Reducing the size
“We can’t increase the price of the onion dosa due to the rise in the prices of rate of onion. Rather, we preferred to reduce the size and we have been doing this ever since the onion prices have shown an upward trend,” said Narayana Kunder of Hotel Preeti Sagar. Smaller onion dosa at his hotel is being sold at Rs. 40. In other hotels, the same dosa costs between Rs. 75 and Rs. 80.
Kunder points out that not only onion prices but prices of urad dal, masala items and vegetables have also increased forcing hoteliers to rethink on the prices. “It has become very difficult to run the hotel because the inventory costs are high and we need to satisfy each customer as the reputation of the hotel is at stake,” he added.
No other alternative
President of Mysuru Hotel Owners’ Association C. Narayanagowda, who owns Vishnu Bhavan too agreed with Kunder and said that they have to invariably reduce the size of the onion dosa. “The Association cannot issue any directions in this regard and hotels have the authority to either increase the dish prices or reduce the dosa size. It is difficult to convince the customers but we have no other go,” he said.
Narayana V. Hegde of Hotel Sringar said that he has increased the price of onion dosa by Rs. 5. “We used to sell the dosa for Rs. 50 and now it costs Rs. 55. We cannot compromise on dosa size or quality. Considering the rising onion prices, a customer will not mind paying Rs. 5 more for his favourite snack that has rich aroma and roasted onions,” he added.
A fair deal
However, this size reduction and price increase is not bought by Vishwananda Bhat, who owns Mysore Refreshments near Zoo. He says that prices of onion dosa and other onion-based snacks were not reduced when onion prices were as low as Rs. 10 per kg. “We should be fair. Why increase the prices now,” he asked.
He said that they kept onion-based dosa and pakoda on the menu under regular prices without reducing the size as historically the high prices never sustained beyond a week. “We cannot disappoint our regular customers. Prices go up and come down and profits have to take a backseat in times like these. We will absorb the extra costs. And irrespective of the price of ingredients, we don’t direct the kitchen personnel to cut down on onions in any dish that is on the menu,” Bhat said.
To be or not to be
Bhaskar Shetty of Coastal Pearl Restaurant has a grave problem as his hotel serves non-vegetarian items. “Onions are a must for all non-vegetarian items as it makes a lot of difference in the taste. Without onions there is no dish. Also, customers ask for onion slices while eating the dishes. It has become a great problem as onion prices continue to rise. We are suffering a loss every day,” he rued.