This time it's the turn of the horeca protagonists par excellence who find themselves dealing with the new normal every day. So here are the words of chef Simone Rugiati and Pedro Matos Maceli, also known as the Pissed off Barista on the coronavirus catering theme.
Rugiati: customers keep close, guaranteeing safety
Simone Rugiati is one of the most loved and well-known faces of television cooking, testimonial for 2020 of the two countertop systems Combi Wave and Combi Wave Smart . We asked a great Chef for some useful advice for managers.
One month after the reopening of the premises, how do you see the recovery for bars and restaurants?
From what I see the turnout is good . There is a great desire to eat away from home and to be together with due caution and in my opinion we need to keep the threshold of responsibility high, even as customers . This and next week certainly represent an adjustment phase after the reopening with new rules, or new staff in the case of seasonal premises. Right now the managers need to be good at keeping the situation safe.
How should a manager move to be able to deal with government adaptations?
First of all, the owner of a club or restaurant must feel responsible for the customers and their behaviour, even when they do not comply with the rules. Unfortunately I see little attention and decision in enforcing safety measures, an attitude that can backfire on the business causing problems. There is a risk of hefty fines and closure, even after the setback of the lockdown. The owner must speak clearly with the staff and explain that excellent service depends on courtesy, speed and compliance with the rules. Imagine the managers of bars, clubs and restaurants as sheriffs: it may seem counterproductive to be fussy, but in reality it reinforces the sense of seriousness and reliability of the place.
The restaurant is a meeting place, how has the service changed between distances and masks?
We Italians are a people not used to distances , so it's difficult to change our nature. Right now, however, it is essential to keep distances and masks in order to understand if it will last another couple of months or if they will become new rules for the next few years. In that case you will have to work on the structure of the service of a club.
Are social networks important to reduce distances in this case?
Absolutely, social networks are also important regardless of the coronavirus catering theme because they are the most used form of communication by now. They're helpful right now because they're telling the local, regardless of the physical location. The end customer, for example, can use Facebook or Instagram to search for more information before booking a dinner or ordering something. It is a new showcase, both in terms of communication and exhibition.
Any advice for maintaining close ties with customers?
I believe that if a place has worked well, the moment it reopens the public returns. Satisfied customers do not forget the experience of consumption in a bar or restaurant in two months of lockdown. The advice is: if you want to keep the bond with customers close, be intelligent and guarantee safety in your establishment. To feel at home, you have to feel safe.
Pissed off bartender: I missed the craziest requests
His jokes are known to anyone who works behind a counter, we asked Pissed Barista Pedro Matos Maceli how the restart is going.
One month after the reopening, how is it going?
After a difficult start in take away and delivery mode, with the opening to the public we can see a principle of return to normality and the desire to return to old habits , including going to the bar.
Did you have to adapt the organization to the new standards?
Yes, I had to review all the organization and management of my business , taking the necessary measures to comply with the new regulations. Furthermore, consumption and preferences of the public have changed , so I had to adapt to their needs.
Plexiglass or distancing: what did you choose and why?
I preferred distancing to plexiglass, which in addition to having huge costs given the economic moment, creates a barrier between me, the customers and between the customers themselves. If distances are respected, it is possible to interact and socialize , essential factors in our work.
The bar is a meeting place, how did the public react to the distancing?
At the beginning the customers were very disoriented, awkward and scared. Luckily they are letting themselves go, they are no longer afraid to enter the club. The bar was born as a place of aggregation and meeting, and with the new rules it is very tiring to make customers respect them. I try to remember to enter with a mask and take it off only to consume, de-dramatizing the situation. We must always check that distances are respected and that no one moves tables and chairs. Sometimes these situations become a source of embarrassment, we are bartenders: entrepreneurs and not guardians of the law.
What was the thing you missed most about your bar?
Coming from me it seems strange, but the thing I missed the most were my clients and all their absurd requests. After almost 3 months seeing them in my place was exciting. Some have shown solidarity by contributing financially to the restart, leaving tips or donations. I would like to send a big good luck and an encouragement to those who have lost their jobs right now, to those who have closed their businesses and to those who are in difficulty. Hold on.
Forecasts: 77% of Italians will go back to eating out
If the slow and fearful restart frightened the managers, the forecasts of the new research by The Fork are encouraging. As many as 77% of Italians will return to away from home habits by 22 June. An extremely positive figure reinforced by the sense of security perceived by the public thanks to the measures adopted by bars and restaurants. And among the types of offer, fish cuisine wins with 32% of preferences.
Numbers to make yours for a strategy in step with customer demand trends. Try a salmon trio made by Simone Rugiati himself , ready in 2 minutes with Combi Wave.