Unprecedented times. Uncharted waters. These are words we are hearing daily given the spread of the COVID-19 Pandemic. As the hospitality industry is such a key part of our communities and our society and who we are at OpenTable, we checked in with two very different, popular businesses to talk to them about how they’re learning to manage COVID-19.
The Grossi Group in Melbourne’s CBD who own Grossi Florentino, The Grill, The Cellar Bar, Ombra, Merchant and Arlechin in Melbourne, as well as Garum in Perth, are concerned but proactive about the situation.
“Our family is committed to providing genuine hospitality and contributing to the fabric of Melbourne. Our hearts are filled with sadness at this difficult time for all people near and far. We need the help of our community to be able to continue to support our employees, suppliers and producers,” says Loredana Grossi, Marketing Manager for the Grossi Group.
While the Cellar Bar and Ombra offer take-away meals for guests to enjoy at home, they balance it with policies to manage their staff during this difficult time. “We are consulting with employees in terms of their well-being and maintaining strict policies of attendance that require fit for work approval after any absence.”
In Clifton Hill, in Melbourne’s inner-north-east, Nan Kroll owner/operator of Citrico Cocina is drawing up plans for a takeaway and delivery facility, one that she will literally drive. “I’d like to do the deliveries to our regulars and locals in the area, to personalise the service,” she says.
Her team is working on the delivery menu at the moment, as grilled steaks and scallops on the a la carte menu don’t travel well, “but empanadas and Pão com Chouriço (chorizo in bread) do,” she says.
Citrico has an (almost) cult following when it comes to their empanadas and Kroll will also have them available for customers to buy frozen. The gravity of the pandemic isn’t lost on her. “I have a couple of staff off sick at the moment, we’re just taking stock and looking after everyone,” she says.
“I think this will change the industry in the long-term,” she says. “I imagine we’ll see delivery become a regular part of many restaurants, but they’ll own it and manage it, their way.”
On the changes to the industry, Loredana Grossi says, “there will certainly be some impact to the industry and to Melbourne as a whole, but we hope that the resilience of Melburnians will be what will help us get the city back to its beautiful self, where people will go out to theatres, the footy, events and restaurants.”
Many restaurants – including the Grossi Group and Citrico Cocina – are encouraging people to buy vouchers now to be used after the pandemic passes.
Loredana adds, “We are encouraging guests to purchase vouchers this month with some added value so we can host them when things are more settled and they can enjoy a lovely night out with guests.”
Take-aways, personal deliveries from restaurant owners and vouchers to be used later this year are part of the diverse solutions our customers are working on to help support and maintain our beautiful industry. Let’s keep going. And what are some more positive words we’re hearing daily? We’re all in this together, never forget that.