Restaurants in the Time of Covid
- Though shalt decide on a cuisine and concept before opening. Then, tempting as the idea might be, thou shalt not attempt to beef up sales by calling your Japanese hot pot restaurant a lounge bar.
- Thou shalt set up a restaurant serving a cuisine thou believest in. Resist the temptation to open a pub just because they’re the flavour of the season, or a Med lounge for the same reason.
- Thou shalt decide in advance whether kitty parties are to be wooed or chased away with a broomstick. Nothing wrong with kitty parties: they fill up your lunch hours, and if they frighten away regular guests, so be it. But don’t sit on the fence. That way you’ll frighten away everybody.
- Thou shalt spend as much money on the toilets as in the restaurant itself. Thou shalt not be a cheapskate and have a loo that is too small to swing a cat, or that looks like you’ve run out of money. Or worse: that you don’t care for your guest.
- Thou shalt take into due consideration hidden costs like a reverse osmosis plant for drinking water, which shall be made known to your customers, instead of foisting over-priced mineral water on them. Thou shalt also buy good quality chopsticks and matching chopstick holders, good quality soya sauce for the table, and western-style condiments of standard brands if your cuisine so demands. Stinting on details has never bought anyone a fabulous reputation for hospitality.
- Thou shalt research meticulously. Thou will be surprised to know how many diners know what a darne of sole is. Thou shalt resist every temptation to call a curry a qorma, or a salan a dopiaza. Thou shalt also take the trouble to learn the difference between a kulcha and a naan.
- Thou shalt labour over the kind of music to be played in thy eatery. No Kenny G. There are those that are allergic to muzak. And please – no FM radio or World Space. Art thou so cheap? Those things are for thy car and/or house. Jagjit Singh has had his day in the sun. If thou hast a Chinese restaurant, spare thy listeners’ ears from Chinese opera. Why must thou fall for every cliché in The Book?
- Thou wilst ensure that thy service stations are not in full view of thy diners. They may not necessarily want to see chutney being poured into a bowl or finger bowl water being poured into a jug by sloppy waiters. Some operations are best left Unseen.
- Thou will not have live music or entertainment. That concept has been removed from the face of refined dining at the same time that We spirited away the dinosaur from the earth.
- Finally, waiters are meant to be seen, not heard. Arguments about table number 6 and its occupants have never resulted in a Big Tip. Either by table number 6, or by anyone else.