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Gloom in hospo: “We look at the barrel of a dead summer”

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“January is going to be horrible. We’re looking at the barrel of a dead summer, ”said Rene Beijer, owner of Thirty Nine Café at Ponsonby Road in Auckland.

Beijer had a good first day of traffic lights on Friday, but he didn’t think the summer would be so rosy.

“Ponsonby Road was terribly quiet. You expect after nine o’clock that it will rise up. I expected to receive spillovers from other establishments, ”said Beijer.

He didn’t understand it.

“If that’s what’s going to happen, I’m scared.”

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“We actually had one of our best days. We had a few bookings so we were incredibly successful, ”said Beijer.

But, he said, “October, November, December; that’s when you get your functions. This is where you craft your war chest to cover January and February, which are slow.

The past two months have been appalling for cafe and restaurant owners, data from the Restaurant Association showed, and while the next two weeks are going well, Beijer said, “We don’t have international tourism. I doubt we have domestic tourism. “

January scared everyone, he said.

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After the first nationwide covid lockdown ended last year and went to Alert Level 1, Ponsonby has come back to life, Beijer said.

“Ponsonby has traded 120%. People had been stuck at home for so long that they just wanted to get out.

But not this time around, he said.

Rene Beijer, owner of Thirty Nine Cafe on Auckland's Ponsonby Road, is happy to be open again, but says the prospect of a calm summer scares the city's cafe and restaurant owners.

JASON DORDAY / Stuff

Rene Beijer, owner of Thirty Nine Cafe on Auckland’s Ponsonby Road, is happy to be open again, but says the prospect of a calm summer scares the city’s cafe and restaurant owners.

The switch to the traffic light system came a week too late for Priyanka Agarwal, who closed the Mink Café on Parnell Road last week after four years in business.

“It was getting too stressful so we had to decide. The dues with the owner were getting so high that we thought it was better to give up now, ”she said.

“Things were going beyond expectations,” she said.

“To ensure sustainability, whether you have customers or you don’t have customers, you need to have full inventory, full staff and everything. “

Losing money every week and facing a calm summer, she said, “How do we continue? “

November was a particularly difficult month for restaurants and cafes, according to data from the Restaurant Association.

A November survey of hospital businesses, to which 1,159 business owners responded, found that revenue in November was down an average of 31% from the previous month.

Compared to November 2020, it is down 42% during the month.

Restaurant Association of New Zealand chief executive Marisa Bidois said the covid vaccine pass system had put a strain on cafe and restaurant owners.

PROVIDED

Restaurant Association of New Zealand chief executive Marisa Bidois said the covid vaccine pass system had put a strain on cafe and restaurant owners.

“75 percent of those polled said their health and well-being had been compromised,” said the association’s executive director, Marisa Bidois.

The stress caused by declining incomes was exacerbated by a “difficult” switch to the traffic light system, she said.

“On top of that, our industry had to get up to speed with the new traffic light framework, which was incredibly difficult. Clear information was not provided, which left companies unsure of the specific policies that support the framework. “

“Feedback from our members from day one of negotiation has been mixed,” Bidois said.

“While some companies have remained calm, others have reported booking today and this weekend,” she said.

Many companies have reported problems with vaccine passports, Bidois said, and the rudeness of a small subset of unvaccinated people.

Krishna Botica, owner of Café Hanoi, XuXu, Saan and Ghost Street in Auckland, said, “The vaccination certificate systems we all had worked well. The only issues we had were the computers forgetting what they were doing and the staff forgetting what they were doing.

Restaurant owner Krishna Botica said the vaccination passport system worked fine on the first day of the traffic light system.

Provided

Restaurant owner Krishna Botica said the vaccination passport system worked fine on the first day of the traffic light system.

“We have had strange things that have happened at every site,” Botica said.

Business was around 35-40% lower than pre-Covid levels, she said.

Hospo companies with outdoor seating were blessing the good weather in Auckland yesterday.

“The weather was wonderful,” she said. “We had a pretty good run for the outdoor areas.

“There were very few meetings. People rely on reservations, ”she said.

But some rude people made reservations and then didn’t show up.

“It’s very painful,” Botica said.

Botica said, “It’s very boring when you really need the business. It’s good when people warn you because you get walk-in people who need tables.