As the lockdown starts to loosen, could you tell us your plans?
We opened the restaurant on July 4, with great success and very positive feedback. We are really hoping people will support local restaurants like ours over the coming months, as we are operating on much less capacity to keep everyone safe. Our rooms are also now available for those wanting to stay overnight in the area. Our catering service is still on hold until government advice allows larger gatherings, so sadly our weddings and celebrations that were booked during 2020 have all been postponed to 2021.
In what ways has your business had to change and innovate over the last few weeks?
We launched a takeaway collection service at the end of May and it has been very popular with people ordering online and picking a collection time on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday lunch. Customers were very grateful for a ‘fine dining’ takeaway option after a lot of home cooking.
Are there any new products/services/procedures that you’ll be continuing?
We are pleased to be continuing with the takeaway for the foreseeable future to serve people still shielding or those preferring to eat at home.
What sort of support have you received from the local community during this time?
The local community and our regular guests have been very supportive with ‘good will’ messages and social media shares on community groups for example. Our Facebook page has been very well loved! We were also offered some help for free with promoting our takeaway service from other small businesses who we regularly work with. It certainly has shown that people want to support local business, as everyone rallied together to get through these difficult few months.
As we head into summer, how are you feeling about the weeks ahead?
It is still a frightening time for the industry and we just have to hope that, now we have re-opened, people will continue to support us now more than ever. We will keep doing what we do best, and if our first weekend was anything to go by, our team and our guests were buzzing at being able to enjoy a lovely meal in a comfortable and safe environment. We have to remain positive and we are confident that we can get back to a financially stable place again soon, and be there for our guests and our team for the years ahead.
Is there anything you feel needs to happen to ensure your business continues to be viable in the longer term?
We were jumping with a bit of excitement at the new budget announcement recently – the fact that people will be helped and encouraged to visit restaurants with discount incentives and a VAT cut, will be a great help. In all honesty, the bottom line is that we need the ‘bums on the seats’ especially as we have fewer seats available than usual at the moment. The help with returning to work for furloughed employees, and new trainee incentives will also be a massive help to hospitality and to young people coming out of education. Some of our best team members have been with us since college.
What would you say to local people to encourage them to pay you a visit?
We are proud to be ‘COVID Safe’ and have worked hard putting in new cleaning procedures and staff training, including PPE. The tables are socially distanced with sanitising stations, and we have a one-way system and assigned toilet facilities. We have stringent risk assessments and high food hygiene standards as we always have. The feedback from guests is that they feel comfortable and safe at Chez Vous whilst dining with us, so we encourage you to book a table and enjoy not only our safe setting, but our delicious new menu.
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