Weekender: Are you being served?
Pubs, bars and restaurants across the region are preparing to roll up their shutters and open their doors tomorrow.
From Black Sheep Brewery which is reopening its visitor centre and restaurant in Masham and its Tap & Kitchen in Chapel Allerton, to the Dakota hotel in Leeds, Saturday will mark a landmark moment.
Charlene Lyons, chief executive of Black Sheep Brewery, said: “We have been gearing up for reopening for some time and we can’t wait to serve our first pints at the Visitor Centre and The Tap & Kitchen.
“We have put all required social distancing and hygiene measures in place in each venue so our customers can be confident that they are in a safe environment when they come back to enjoy their favourite Black Sheep food and drink.
“We hope to open our other pubs soon and we will use the Visitor Centre and Tap & Kitchen to benchmark our new ways of working before we apply them to our smaller venues, to ensure the safety of our team and our customers.”
Andrew Ovenstone, operations director of Dakota Hotels, said: “The health and safety of our guests, team and community is our utmost priority, while ensuring guests receive the ultimate Dakota experience. We want guests to visit Dakota with confidence, we are prepared to deliver service and style in a safe environment adhering to government guidelines. Dakota has built its reputation here in Leeds, and beyond, on the impeccable hospitality of our team and we will continue to uphold this standard, providing an unforgettable experience either in our Bar, Grill, Terrace or overnight.”
However, with businesses reopening en masse this means they are vying for patronage more than ever, with one Asian restaurant celebrating its relaunch giving away thousands of curries to Leeds residents tonight. Food will be served in takeaway boxes in a one-way system queue straight in and then out of the restaurant – and Mumtaz is “ready, willing and ladled” to hand over thousands of meals on a first-come, first-served basis.
Mumtaz spokesman Rab Nawaz said: “We wanted to do something special for Leeds, it’s been a tough three months for everyone and we aren’t out of the woods yet, but it will be fantastic to open our doors again this weekend and welcome back customers. We all need to work together and we all need this.”
Other restaurant groups such as Individual Restaurants ( The Restaurant Bar & Grill, Leeds; Piccolino and Gino D’Acampo My Restaurant) have created a short film to highlight the safety measures its introduced.
However note everyone is celebrating getting back to business, the toll of lockdown has also meant some businesses such as The Talbot in Malton have had to take to the decision to stay closed.
Tom Naylor-Leyland, a director of The Talbot, said: “Sadly, we have decided not to reopen the hotel on 4th July. This is heart-breaking for our loyal members of staff and a very difficult decision for my family who have loved and enjoyed the hotel for so many years.”
When asked by TheBusinessDesk.com if there was any hope of them reopening, a spokesperson for The Talbot said: “We will be considering options on the future of the hotel however we are concentrating on the consultation period at present.”
As the hospitality firms gears back up, one supplier is looking to ease the financial burden.
Wetherby-based Akula Living, which manufactures high quality outdoor furniture the sector, has decided to provide face masks on a non-profit basis.
Over the last six months, the company has dedicated 50 percent of its manufacturing capacity, at one of its upholstery factories, to making more than 10m face masks for hospitals and care homes.
With urgent demand declining within the healthcare sector, Akula decided to continue to manufacture the face masks in readiness for restrictions being relaxed within the hospitality and leisure industry.
Recognising that the sector has suffered financially during the lockdown, Akula is providing the 1.5 million face masks, it has built up in stock, at cost with prices starting at just 38p.
Speaking about the initiative CEO of Akula Living, Tim Appleton, said,
“It is great news that many parts of the hospitality and leisure sector can now reopen in the UK with the correct PPE in place.
“As well as working with some of the world’s leading brands including Marriott, Park Leisure, Hilton, Four Seasons and Sandals, we also work with smaller operators and recognise the financial pressure many will be under.
“We therefore want to do all we can to help companies get back on their feet by providing masks on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis. With around three million employed by the sector in the UK, it represents a vital part of the UK economy, so we are keen to play out part in its recovery.”