Almay Jordaan, chef and co-owner of Fitzroy North’s Neighbourhood Wine and Old Palm Liquor in Brunswick East hasn’t stopped. Like so many other hospo businesses, she’s done the pivot, kept learning and is now getting ready to welcome diners from June 2. We thought we’d check in to see how she and her teams are doing.
1. Can you talk us through how long it took to pivot and offer delivery and takeaway at both businesses and how the your customers responded?
We stopped doing a la carte on Sunday March 22nd, reorganised ourselves on Monday and started with new takeaway menus on the Tuesday at both restaurants using existing platforms. We started trading seven days again, and learned fast and hard how the takeaway game works.
We have since developed our own online store which lists all the wine we sell at both restaurants, and deliver for free. It’s been a hard, non-stop grind. We got good support all round, and scrambled especially to have enough natural wine on tap to sell by the litre!
2. How are you feeling about the reopening of restaurants in June? Are the logistics you’re given at the moment – 20 people, 4 square metres, monitoring temps – viable for a business?
Currently we are developing menus at both restaurants that can still takeaway well, because its definitely not feasible to open for dine-in only. The online shop is now a permanent third arm of the business. Part of reopening is just to start the ball rolling and get back into the swing of things albeit slowly. We can adapt as we go, to anything!
3. How are you and your teams?
Everybody is doing ok now. It’s been a hell of a time and I’m sure no one wants to repeat the last two weeks of March 2020 anytime soon.
Interview: May 27