Keeping the guests at bay, hiding the face behind a mask, and instead of a handshake there are gloves – no wonder that many restaurant owners desperately ask themselves how they can still be good hosts who make their guests happy. But pinching does not count!
The Quellenhof Luxury Resort Passeier near Merano and the sister house on Lake Garda are elegantly equipped with the latest technology to control access. As soon as you check in or enter, a thermal scanner measures the temperature of all internal and external guests of the hotel, restaurant and spa as well as the employees. Anyone who breaks the 37.5 degree mark is discreetly isolated, says chief Heinrich Dorfer. Then the legally prescribed procedure is set in motion; affected employees must go home. If a case occurs with a guest, the local emergency number is dialled and the doctor in charge decides on all further measures regarding the isolation, quarantine or return home of the guests. For security reasons, the device, which works with face recognition, additionally reports every detected case of fever to the administration by e-mail – twice as durable!
Gastronome Heinz Gindullis has also been relying on Corona-compliant technology with Data Kitchen in Berlin – and has been doing so since it was founded in 2016. The restaurant, which was developed in partnership with SAP, stands out above all because of its “Food Wall”, in whose individual compartments dishes that were previously ordered via app or the Web and paid for in advance without cash are available for removal. The guest simply goes to his table with it. Now the restaurant is operated at half capacity due to the distance control – a challenge. Heinz Gindullis, like many of his colleagues, is retaining the well-established delivery service.
Dario Goga uses technology of a completely different kind in his Goga Caffè in Milan, which had to close again shortly after opening on 3 March 2020. But the resourceful restaurateur didn’t give up and built plexiglass partitions that surround the guests at the tables for two on three sides. “Once inside, you’re safe,” he says. Thanks to this creative solution, Dario Goga has only lost four of his approximately 60 seats. He had to invest around 800 euros. Money well spent – for sure!
The re-entry at the well-known trendy restaurant Nobelhart & Schmutzig in Berlin is very noble. Designer Jay Barry Matthews has created face masks for the employees out of cotton-linen fabric dyed with Japanese Binchotan charcoal from the noble fashion label Frank Leder. And the other measures are also intended to make the guests feel as comfortable, safe and relaxed as possible, says host Billy Wagner, who spent eight weeks with his team preparing the reopening. His benchmark: “How do we act without fear and without being negligent?” From disinfecting the handle, coat hanger, pen etc. to maintaining the necessary distances, everything was thought of. Billy Wagner and his chef are also concerned with raising awareness among employees. “As responsible persons, Micha Schäfer and I are setting a good example.”
Distance with a wink – Ulrike Haase succeeds in this, who without further ado occupied the unusable seats in her hotel restaurant with mannequins. “By now there are eight contagious gentlemen,” she reports, “there is variety and a revived emptiness, humor. Our guests are happy, it is fuller and new, different conversations arise.
The Asian version of this is offered by the Maison Saigon in Bangkok. Here cute plush pandas keep the unoccupied seats free. Social Distancing has never felt so cuddly!
In Corona times, the Chambre Separée is also trending. For example in Amsterdam, at Mediamatic Eten, the restaurant of the modern cultural centre Mediamatic. Here, two people dine in mini-greenhouses by the water, just 2.54 m2 in size, a delightful mixture of intimacy and publicity. The food, all vegan, is served on long boards. “During a brainstorming session we inspected the area”, says Communications Manager Tobias Servaas. That’s how the then unused glass houses were discovered: The idea of the “Serres Séparées” – greenhouse séparées – was born!
You can also dine very intimately in the “Genussgondel” (gondola of pleasure), which belongs to the 5-star Spa Hotel Jagdhof in the Austrian Stubaital. A maximum of five guests can fit into the former ski lift gondola, which has been converted into a cosy mini Tyrolean parlour and now seems made for feasting in times of crisis. The glacier view druing the ride is free of charge!
You can get the same feeling with a Nordic touch at the “Pegelhäuschen” at the Elbe, a river in Hamburg (Germany). Up to four people can enjoy a four-course surprise menu in the tiny hut, which stands on a brick pillar high above the Elbe. Bookings can be made daily, once at noon, once in the evening, for a binding €149 per person. “Sometimes we have a waiting period of half a year for some days, for example Saturday evenings”, says Carsten Hasselbrinck, RoomDivision & Sales Manager of the Hotel Zollenspieker Fährhaus, to which the water gauge house belongs.
A whole restaurant just for two – what once seemed like frivolous madness is now a rational solution. “Solo per Due” is the name of the opulently furnished minimal restaurant 68 km north of Rome, which always receives only two guests and has long been a favourite with lovers. “The restaurant has been around since 23 September 1988,” says owner Remo Di Claudio. “For 32 years, far before Corona.” The cozy location even has its own palm garden. Regional cuisine at its best is served.
If dining for two is still too risky for you, “Bord för en” offers a table for one person. And it is set in the middle of the Swedish countryside, in Wermland, it opens its doors from the 20th May to the 1st August, for one Swedish summer. Everyone pays what they want, any surplus goes to a cultural fund for creative mothers. “We have a few tables left in July, other than that we are almost fully booked. Very exciting!”, says co-owner Linda Karlsson. The food, a genuine Swedish menu, is brought to the table contactlessly from the kitchen by basket with a cable pull. What if the weather doesn’t fit? ” We have invested in blankets, rain and wind shield.”, says the likeable restaurateur, for whom there is still a long way to go after the 1st of August. “We are thinking of opening up more for one in other parts of the world where the temperature might just be a little milder even during the autumn.”. By the way, Linda came up with the idea when her parents came to visit unexpected and, because of Corona, placed their table set in the garden. She served them through the kitchen window. Creative gastronomy with heart – Corona makes it possible!