The recession and the high cost involved in the process of making a kitchen kosher for Pesach are expected to lead to a drop of 20% in the number of restaurants in Eretz Yisroel that plan to offer kosher-for-Pesach dishes to their customers on the upcoming Yom Tov. Of the 7,300 restaurants in Israel, about 1,300 have a kashrus certificate and another 300 are defined “kosher,” though they operate without kashrus certification. A survey conducted by the 2eat website revealed that this year many restaurants decided to forego the costly process – estimated at some NIS 6,000 (some $1,500) of making their venue leavened food-free.
In order to receive a Pesach kashrus certificate, a restaurant must replace all of its serving dishes with glass dishes, remove all the chometzdike food kept at the place, kasher ovens and cooking pans,employ 3-4 mashgichim and increase the number of daily cleanups.
Wishing to save themselves the cost and logistical problems involved, many restaurants have decided to remain closed during the week-long Yom Tov.
According to the survey, while 58% of the restaurants were kosher-for-Pesachlast year, only 38% plan to undergo the process this year. The restaurants that do become kosher will invest some NS 8 million ($2 million) in the process.
Despite the ban on selling chometz during Pesach, the law was scarcely enforced last year. In order to supply the great demand of the secular public, many restaurants stock up bread ahead of the Yom Tov, or bake it themselves.