How are restaurant owners facing up to the crisis?

Plex-Eat / Christophe Gernigon
Plex-Eat / Christophe Gernigon

While restaurant owners received the all-clear to reopen from June 2nd onward, many establishments are having to use their imagination to accommodate their customers’ return. From apps and takeaway services to reimagined table layouts and larger terraces, there is no shortage of ideas to adapt to the government’s health measures.

Finally. How long has the wait been to reopen? After several long weeks of anxiety and uncertainty, Monaco’s restaurant owners and more generally those on the Côte d’Azur are preparing to raise the curtain to welcome a reluctant clientèle. Although impatient to return to their favourite spots to dine-out once again, an air of unease remains. Whereas it will not be the same as before, with social distancing measures meticulously put in place, restaurants are preparing to set the table, caught between fear for lack of customers and hope for a way out of the crisis.

Interactive menus, takeaway services and mobile apps

By offering takeaway sales, the only real way not to remain closed indefinitely, restaurants have been forced to show some imagination in avoiding closure. The same goes for shopkeepers, among those most affected by the health and economic crisis linked to COVID-19, stay in business.

Antoine Bahri, creator of the Carlo application, has enabled local shops, particularly restaurants, to enter the digital world and remain connected. Offers include gift vouchers, which allow for an immediate cash injection into the establishment while being able to use them at a later date when the crisis has further eased. It is one concrete way of helping restaurant owners survive while waiting for the grand reopening on June 2nd.

Another groundbreaking initiative is that of electronic menus. Director of the Capucine agency in Monaco alongside Christophe Picciotta, Isabelle Drezen recommends the use of a simple QR code to have the menu and wine list available free of charge. Hosted electronically in PDF format on the website, they are accessible with a simple flash and could soon be available in five languages.

Plex'Eat : les cloches en plexiglas designer Christophe Gernigon

Plex’Eat by Christophe Gernigon

Reservations required, limited tables, social distancing

Although the reopening of the restaurants has raised many questions, numerous health measures enacted by the government should ensure restaurant-goers’ safety. From mandatory reservations, tables limited at four or six people while maintaining a 50cm spacing between guests, as well as table separation of at least 1.5 metres and the use of display menus or ones available on smartphones, restauranteurs have no choice but to be creative when it comes to welcoming their customers back.

As the government advocates terrace seating, restaurants will have to reinvent themselves to allow as many people as possible to sit down safely, in a greatly reduced space and with the number of tables divided at least in two. In the Netherlands, an incredibly original example was created in Amsterdam, when restaurants reopened on May 21st this year. The vegan restaurant Mediamatic Eten, located in the Oosterdok district, designed a system of separate mini-greenhouses to receive its customers. This allows one, two or three guests to enjoy the docks in the small glass structures on the restaurant’s terrace. Perhaps it is an idea that could soon be welcomed into the Principality?