A lobby group called The Restaurant Collective headed by Ocean Basket chief executive officer Grace Harding says the seven-week Covid-19 lockdown could possibly be the nail in the coffin for the restaurant industry that employs half a million people.
BusinessTech reported that The Restaurant Collective represents 152 restaurants from Ocean Baskett, 17 from Tashas, Del Forno (39), Col’Cacchio (30), Doppio Zero (16), and Famous Brands “Signature Brands” (159) signatories.
In an open letter, the collective appeals to government to allow restaurants to open on Level 3 on certain restrictions.
Harding said: “Directly and indirectly, we employ at least half a million people.
“The impact of every single restaurant reaches out like a spider’s web affecting the livelihood of hundreds of others – our suppliers, farmers, SMMEs, factories producing syrups and sauces, small wholesalers, digital media agencies, designers and shopfitters, pest control, plumbers and electricians, delivery platforms, media platforms like Eat Out and Zomato… the list is endless.”
The group has called for the immediate approval of call-and-collect for sit-down restaurants, extended trading hours until 9pm, and the opening with necessary restrictions at Level 3.
Currently, under Level 4 restaurants are only permitted for delivery orders between 9am-8pm. This does remain the same on Level 3, with sit-downs only allowed on Level 1.
In the letter, The Spur Corporation, the owner of RocoMamas and Panarottis Pizza Pasta, noted that only 47 of 77, and 19 of 87 restaurants, respectively, are currently operating.
The collective is aware that the Covid-19 lockdown regulations will be here to stay for some time and that the restaurant industry will need to explore alternative models moving forward.
Harding said: “For the longer term, we will address additional issues, many pre-existing, that are further reaching with the aim of building a strong, resilient foundation for the industry as a whole to thrive.”
(Compiled by Sandisiwe Mbhele)