Both customers and restaurateurs are desperate to get back to service after the long months of coronavirus lockdown. However, for some including Sat Bains, the time is just not right.
When UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the way was open for pubs and restaurants to start trading on the 4th of July, there was jubilation among the county’s restaurant owners and furloughed hospitality workers. The signs are that customers are raring to get back to dining out, as reduced capacity and a surge in bookings means restaurant tables are in great demand.
However, even with reduced capacity, there are worries about the risks of reopening. The threat of infection and the spectre of an imminent second wave mean, for some chefs, it’s just not worth it.
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15th May 2020 Dear RSB Guests, latest update… We hope you are all safe and looking after each other. • We have been busy working on ways to restructure the Restaurant and rooms to make it as safe as possible for our guests and team for the hopeful opening later in the Summer, we have no definite dates as are listening to the experts from health and safety and the official channels to get as much information as possible. • • We have been, pickling, salting and preserving all the bounty the garden has given up whilst we have been closed, so as not to have any waste. • We are speaking to our team and they are all positive, healthy and looking after each other, more importantly staying indoors, to help our incredible NHS. • Here are 3 answers to the most asked emails over the last few weeks, to put you all at ease in this already stressful time: 1. All bookings for the foreseeable future are suspended until further notice so please don’t worry, we will reschedule once we hear that is safe to take bookings again. 2 All vouchers will be extended by 6 months after their Expiry dates, and all The ‘C’ Word vouchers have an 18 month expiry date. 3. Please be assured that Credit and Debit Card details given against your bookings were to secure bookings only. No payments/deposits/charges are or will be applied. • We hope that you, our guests, will be understanding, and we will be back as soon as possible. • RSB has been our life for twenty years. We have managed to achieve incredible things on our journey so far and are so very proud of the team, past and present who have helped us get to where we are today. • Please keep an eye on our social media channels for any updates. Be safe, be kind, stay healthy and stay at home. • Here are some of our incredible suppliers offering deliveries: https://lincolnshirepoachercheese.com/ http://www.thefruitbasketdirect.uk/ https://aubreyallen.co.uk/ https://www.differencecoffee.com/ • We encourage you to support us by purchasing a 10% discounted ‘CWORD’ gift voucher to use in much happier times on our Voucher page. • Thank you. Sat and Amanda Bains. x
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Sat Bains, chef-owner at his eponymous two-Michelin-star restaurant in Nottingham, said that the idea of having no reservations in the coming months is a scary prospect, but the risks of opening too soon outweigh any benefits.
“It’s all pending on if there’s no second wave,” he told BigHospitality.
“I don’t want to be a doomsayer, but I’m being cautious because the one thing I don’t want is to open and then subsequently have to close again." - Sat Bains
“It’s both a sad and stressful time, but by remaining closed for now we have a very rare opportunity to look at what we do in the restaurant and reflect on certain elements of the experience. And it’s giving us as a team the chance to think about how we can do it better.”
Bains is looking at an August/September opening but insists he is staying flexible to be able to see how the situation unfolds. All going well, Sat Bains will open in mid-August.
Another high-profile restaurant to remain closed for the summer is French chef Claude Bosi’s Bibendum, in Chelsea’s Michelin House. The-two-Michelin star chef believes that low tourist numbers, Londoners holidaying in other parts of the UK, and reduced capacity all combine to make it not worth reopening on July 4th.
“We need a turnover of £200,000 a month to break even,” he told BigHospitality.
"I don’t think London is going to be busy enough to keep the whole thing going. My wage bill is high”.
The UK, one of the worst affected countries by the coronavirus with over 43,000 deaths, has seen a drop in cases from the height at the end of April. However, mixed messages from the government, the absence of a functioning track-and-trace system, and a spell of unusually good weather, which has seen thousands of people flock to the beaches, means the prospect of a ‘second wave’ remains very real.