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 that plan to offer kosher-for-Passover dishes to their customers this upcoming holiday.
Of the 7,300 restaurants in Israel, about 1,300 have a kashrut certificate and another 300 are defined kosher, though they operate without kashrut 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 Passover kashrut certificate, a restaurant must replace all of its serving dishes with glass dishes, remove all the leavened food kept at the place, make ovens and cooking pans kosher using a special burning process, employ 3-4 kashrut observers 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 holiday.
According to the survey, while 58% of the restaurants were kosher-for-Passover last 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 leavened food in 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 holiday, or bake it themselves.