Drastic fall in diners

But the manager of Annalakshmi, the �pay what you feel� Indian diner on Barrack Street jetty, has been struggling to keep the doors open since work began on the Elizabeth Quay development.

Last week, the vegetarian eatery launched a crowdfunding program to help keep the 25-year-old not-for-profit restaurant afloat.

Mr Natarajun is asking people to give their support to the restaurant that he says is an important community service.

The full-time volunteer said Annalakshmi operated on a �pay it forward� system � encouraging those who could afford to pay a little bit more for their meals help feed the less fortunate.

However, Mr Natarajun said the eatery was reeling after losing about 50 per cent of its customers since foreshore works began at Elizabeth Quay.

�I�ve exhausted all my avenues and managed to keep it going since construction started, but I can�t ask anymore; I can�t borrow any more,� Mr Natarjan said.

�If you speak to almost every guest who comes in, they will say you can�t come here because it is impossible to park or they think we are closed because of the construction.

Over the years, Mr Natarajan said Annalakshmi had fed more than three million people, including 50 regulars who ate lunch and dinner, but to continue he needed to find a way to cover the cost of the rent and groceries.

�A lot of people think that this is a business, and there is a misconception with government departments and the people that we are renting from.

�The whole idea is that everybody is given a meal and everybody is respected in a certain way and never looked down upon,� he said.

�There are a lot of people who are homeless and there are not a lot of people to care for them, some even have no family � for those people they feel at home here.�

Mr Natarjan, who is financially supported by his wife and in-laws, said that since launching the crowdfunding there had been an outpouring of support and he hoped it would be enough to sustain Annalakshmi until Elizabeth Quay was finished.

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