24 Apr 2020

Hospitality businesses prepare for level 3 reopening

10:23 am on 24 April 2020

Across the country hospitality businesses are making plans and getting prepared to reopen under alert level 3 on Tuesday.

Tomboy cakery and café owner Kate Marinkovich tries out her new door which will her to to do contactless pickup.

Tomboy cakery and café owner Kate Marinkovich tries out her new door which will her to to do contactless pickup. Photo: RNZ / Hamish Cardwell

The Restaurant Association expects about a third of the roughly 9000 cafes and restaurants to open, but to stay within lockdown rules and attract customers many are having to get creative.

Restaurants and cafes will be allowed to open if they can provide contactless payment, pickup and delivery, and staff can keep one metre from each other.

For Kate Marinkovich, who owns the Tomboy cakery and café in Wellington, her solution to contactless pickup is nothing particularly fancy - a mostly transparent plastic door with a hole cut in it where she can pass customers her specialty cakes and coffee.

The paywave eftpos machine attached to the inside of the door even works when you tap it from the outside.

Marinkovich said she hoped this would allow her to reopen under alert level 3.

"I just knew that it was fight or flight and I needed to do something to save the shop.

"To continue to trade [letting] people coming in [to the shop] was not an option. How do I serve them? I [didn't] have the hole-in-the-wall capability. So the door space seemed the most logical."

Jack Candlish made Marinkovich's door and has been helping other businesses kit out their shops to fit within the rules.

"I did Moore Wilson … I made all their sneeze guards.

"That kept me busy for a couple of weeks … and then I put something up on social media and a few of my other friends saw that and then when it came time for them to get their businesses ready they just hit me up."

Marinkovich said on top of selling the usual cakes and coffee she was going to start doing a small takeaway dinner menu and deliveries.

But she has grave fears for other cafes and restaurants that cannot innovate, or conform to the new rules.

"I know it will be harder for a lot of other places to adapt [to] level 3.

"[Whether they'll be] able to maneuver around small kitchens and if that is even a possibility."

And the numbers don't look good - the Restaurant Association expects about one in five hospitality businesses to go under - as many as half in the tourist hotspots.

Call for customers to spend to save their favourite eateries

Across town at 1154 Pastaria a management summit is putting the finishing touches on plans for level 3.

1154 Pasteria co-owners Leonardo Bresolin, left, Lucas Tock and Kieran Wallace.

1154 Pasteria co-owners Leonardo Bresolin, left, Lucas Tock and Kieran Wallace. Photo: RNZ / Hamish Cardwell

Co-owner Leonardo Bresolin said he already has click-and-collect and online delivery in place and he and his partners plan to expand this to other restaurants in their group.

He said they have also got other ideas to get the cash register ringing.

"We've also got the home menu as well for people who want to cook at home," Bresolin said.

"We have three different types of sauces all [bottled] up where they can buy the sauce, the pasta.

"We also are launching a new lasagna halfbake."

Bresolin concedes it is a gamble whether there'll be the demand to be worthwhile opening at all.

1154 Pastaria general manager and co-owner Kieran Wallace said their survival was in the punters' hands.

"I think the main thing really is the call to the customers, just people to get out there [and] spend their money locally on businesses they love and to be really selective and dine at the places that they want to see stay open."

The Restaurant Association is launching its "take out" online campaign asking people to support local hospitality businesses.

It will have detailed guidelines to help hospitality businesses work within the rules on its website.

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