This week I met online with Sav Russo to review what trends and impacts he had seen take effect from the pandemic and what trends from Australia, who appear ahead of us in this country, might then transcend to our everyday ‘normal’ operation.
Sav is a local suburban restauranteur who has come to popular acclaim in Australia, through his reaction to the local pandemic in feeding his local community and then opening up a cookery school. In doing these acts he has attracted the help of a ‘two hatted’ acclaimed chef who has in turn helped him transform his restaurant and upwardly transformed sales.
We discussed the movement in direction to reopening and the programme to give confidence to the consumer. Here below I have listed a few highlights and actions/considerations:-
- There needs to be a consumer confidence in the cleanliness of the operation and staff,
- this will mean vision of sanitisers and hygiene and likely table top sanitiser holders on every table
- hygiene stations in places where consumer see staff being clean
- change in lighting design and levels of light to spotlight hygiene
- Separate entry and exit points to prevent cross contact of people moving in different directions through narrow confirmed spaces and to give flow to the restaurant through rather than around the space
- Opening up of the kitchen space whether longer term in further use of open kitchens and/or through digitisation and demonstration to showcase the kitchen- all secrets are out
- In terms of the front of house space in the short term this will need to be very flexible; Sav has just ordered his latest restaurant concept to have the pass/ counter on castors to enable the counter to be pushed out to the shopfront when/ if required
- Opening windows and shopfronts to invite the outside in- to provide a link between spaces in definition that feels safe
- The impact on the pivot in Sav’s operations has seen him require a complete reorganisation of the back of house space with a rearranged prep kitchen to do increased volume for delivery
- More separation between but also within stations in the prep area
- The dry store has also been rearranged to separate the different stations storage & prevent cross contact
We also touched on the social distancing aspects within the restaurant; in Australia they are considering 1 person/4m2 within the next few weeks (this is an effective social distancing of 1m in all directions)- this is critical as with opening the landlord will expect payment of rental however this will still limit and make the reality of opening very borderline economic. A concluding discussion was that in the future we are likely to see people opening smaller units rather than multi 100+ cover establishments with changes in the way the leases are written and configured based more on a base rate + % of turnover rather than fully annual charges with upward only reviews.
I found our discussion informative and great to have a further world view perspective on the challenges for the hospitality sector. I thank Sav for his time and look forward to further discussions.
If you want to discuss your restaurant and how you might need to adapt for reopening then please do call or email for a free or ‘gifted’ discussion in how to implement this and also likely costs involved when hiring contractors to undertake those works.