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Corona in gastronomy: "Financially we can maybe survive two weeks more"


Around two and a half million people work in the hospitality industry in Germany. What does the corona virus mean for your industry? Conversations with restaurateurs from Germany show that the small neighborhood restaurant is just as affected as a large holiday hotel with an excursion restaurant. The café around the corner suffers just as much as the hip hangout or a star shop. But the people affected have one more thing in common: they all resist the consequences of the corona crisis, everyone tries their own way to keep the store going.

Max Strohe, chef of the star restaurant Tulus Lotrek in Berlin and initiator of # cook for heroes

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René Riis

"My partner Ilona Scholl and I have been worried about the corona crisis for a long time. When it reached Germany, we decided early on to close the restaurant – to protect our employees and ourselves. We hoped that the government would give us this The decision is declining, much earlier than has been the case for all restaurants since March 23, because regulations such as one and a half meters between the tables do not prevent our staff from being infected because they cannot pour wine or serve food from this distance We then had to send our employees on short-time work, like many others.

After that we were at home for the first three days – full of drive, to do nothing. We quickly realized that the big challenge would be not to morally despair of it or to panic. So we wanted to do something, and we knew from our supplier that he was giving away goods because the buyers were missing. It was so much that we wanted to use it to cook people who work in so-called systemically relevant professions and are not an option for the home office, such as doctors or nursing staff, and within two days it went through the roof, all via Facebook and Instagram . We are doing this on a voluntary basis and are now expanding it under the hashtag # cooking for heroes. More and more cities are participating, which is why we are now organizing it decentrally: On the homepage, the restaurants are each assigned a hero or a purpose that they can take care of. We have home-made food for self-collect from clinics. In the meantime we also deliver. As low-contact as possible, the driver wears protective gloves and places the food outside the door.

Work also distracts us from the fact that we may be financially ruined. Instead of thinking about it, we prefer to do our part. Fortunately, our landlord supports us and said that we didn't have to pay any rent. We still hope, of course, that the crisis will end soon. We probably can't keep it up for more than three months. "Viktoria Fuchs, cook and owner, Romantik-Hotel Spielweg in Münstertal

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Sebastian Fuchs

"We are a family company in the sixth generation. During the quieter winter season, many employees had vacations and we modified something. Now the spring season should have started: Easter, Pentecost … But nothing started. Of course, the health and safety of the guests and As a family hotel, it hits us particularly hard because we don't have a large company or an investor behind us. We do everything alone. We now lack the à la carte business, the overnight stays and the events. March we could have bridged, but the longer it goes into April and all the spring holidays, the more difficult it will be for us.

We then considered: what do we stand for? As a restaurant, we specialize in local cuisine and game products; my father makes a lot of sausages. We have our own cheese and also a lot of jams made from the fruit of our orchards. So we now offer "play path for at home". The shipping packages are well received. We bake our homemade farmer's bread at night, we send it out in the morning and it is at the customer the next day. We are currently pre-cooking our dishes. The guests pick up the food here and just have to warm it up at home.

Our trainees are still there. They are exempted from the short-time worker regulation. The rest are on rest or, as sad as it sounds, on short-time work. It is particularly bad for the employees concerned if they only get 60 or 67 percent of their wages because the tip is missing. Nobody knows how long this will continue. But we make the best of it, of course it would help us if politics didn't just give us loans. We have to pay them back. Large companies or banks receive aid packages, the catering industry would certainly be happy about tax breaks. We cannot easily make up for the loss. The costs remain, but we can no longer take when we reopen – tables and rooms cannot be used twice. We all have to help each other a bit now: order regional products in the online shop, go to the bakery around the corner , and, as soon as possible, go on vacation in Germany, where it is so beautiful – in the Allgäu, on Sylt. Or in the Black Forest. "Lauren Lee, cook and owner of Miss Kimchi, with Sarah Durante, cook and owner of Humble Pie, Berlin

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Lauren Lee
Miss Kimchi

Lee: "Already at the beginning of the month Miss Kimchi canceled all catering orders for major events, but I still had my lunch catering for companies. I thought:" It will be okay. "When suddenly more and more cancellations came, all were suddenly my orders gone. Some offices thought they could open again in two weeks. But I suspected that it would take longer. I was really afraid, also for my employees. To the rescue, I now try my own delivery service. Help my colleague Sarah Durante and her husband. "

"You jump and hope that the net will tie itself while you fall."

Durante: "It quickly became clear to us that we could best do this together. There was no structure for what we were going to do. The Lieferando model does not work for us because we cannot offer immediate deliveries. We really build everything on the side up and pull together. You jump and hope that the net will form itself while you fall. "Lee:" We are now putting together menus. Otherwise it is not worthwhile to process the quantities of food. We cook everything the day before, pack it airtight and deliver the next day. People have to order at least four days in advance because we need time to organize everything and plan the routes. Of course we still make a huge loss, but it is better than nothing. It keeps us going. We got around 200 orders on the very first day. If it goes on like this, it will be enough to pay all the employees and the running costs. "Aline John, P Tissière and owner of tart and tart in Stuttgart

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Jessica Jungbauer

"Of course, we immediately felt the corona crisis because there were far fewer guests. When the out-of-home sale was allowed, my employees became a little anxious. Nobody wanted more contact with customers. Many have taken sick leave. I am now in the stupid situation that I hardly have any staff left. Right now I'm trying to get the store through the crisis with three temporary helpers. We're currently expanding our delivery service. Fortunately we already had a refrigerator van for our wedding cakes. You can also order in advance Let the tart be reserved and pick it up, just keep going, we only let the customers one by one in the store and provide disinfectants.

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Nevertheless: three quarters of sales have broken down. We may be able to survive financially for two weeks. I set up my company so that I not only employ mini-jobbers, but mostly permanent employees. With ordinary employment contracts, three-month notice periods and continued wages in the event of illness. The pâtisserie has a huge raw material warehouse, there is a lot of broken goods. We also have to dispose of pre-produced items. All of this is ruining me now if money doesn't come in soon, so I applied for immediate help. I hope it will be quick. Everyone is waiting for the money. The question is: who will the aid be paid to first? I also prepared deferrals at the tax office and health insurance companies as well as a suspension of rent. But at some point I have to generate the money again. This is a problem, especially for small businesses, as the café is always well attended under normal circumstances. We do not have the opportunity to increase sales significantly. But what is nice: Many are now thinking of the small shops. Stuttgart-West is a great community, here you stick together. The regular customers come by, buy vouchers and say: 'This is our district and its small shops make life in the big city worth living.' "Sebastian Kramer, cook and co-owner of Café Fritzis in Hamburg

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Fritzis Hamburg

"The Fritzis is known for its lunch table. We recently got our alcohol license, and if the corona crisis hadn't got in the way, we would have opened in the evening with a wine bar and family dinner. Even before the official closing, we realized that people hardly go out anymore, least of all to eat. So we came up with the idea that we would sell our dishes out of the window from now on. People can take it with them and warm them up at home. We cook fresh every day , pour it in or vacuum it in two sachets. There is a variety of home-made food such as chicken fricassee, homemade gnocchi in sage cream or bread dumplings in mushroom cream. For us, this is the opportunity to continue to see regular guests or older neighbors who are no longer as good on foot are able to give some food. We get a lot of calls from people who can’t leave the house We will deliver to them next week. Inquiries and traffic via social networks have also increased enormously. My co-founder Terry then had the idea for the hamster oracle. Every day it says what's new with us about hamsters. Lots of people have a lot of time right now, and this is simply the most direct route to our guests. First and foremost, we are now concerned with continuing to be there for people. The work also keeps us going. As a team of four partners, we can distribute our work very well. This helps. The costs will continue until the support measures from the federal government or the city take effect. We only sent our one full-time employee on vacation. "
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