St. Petersburg restaurateur explained the ultimatum to the authorities

What prompted you to put the question bluntly?

I did this in search, perhaps, some justice. My main message was not the desire to open a restaurant on the 15th no matter what. I am also afraid and honestly comply with the regime of self-isolation. But I was infuriated by this situation.

In the first week of isolation the inhabitants of the city orderly was sitting at home, but the second week gradually relaxed. Besides, the government went to some concessions, allowing them to operate a number of businesses. Life has returned to almost normal: a tube, the subway was crowded, because the metro has reduced the number of trains, and now people are waiting longer on the platform and heap stuffed into the car.

Banks began to work, and not online, and the usual offices. And my post tried to ask ourselves and society: is the restaurant is more dangerous than a trip to subway? Why to go to the Bank safe, and a beauty salon – no?

my Main message was an appeal to the authorities: it is necessary to tighten the rules of being on the street for all to declare a state of emergency – it would be logical if the government understands that tough time and peak of the disease has not yet passed. Or, on the contrary, it is necessary to describe all the mechanisms work in the existing conditions, and allow to work for everyone, because everyone wants to live. Why the banks can live, and we, the restaurants – no?

What was the reaction to your post?

– As is usually the case in society, after my post I many wrote with words of support. But Smolny – did not respond. They are, however, rarely pay attention to the squeak of a small business, they have a more global task. But the indecision of the authorities I am amazed. For me, by the way, a positive example of the work of the authorities is said. Is visible at least some work in the city to prepare for the day. In Petersburg there are now 70 % of people just ignored the self-imposed isolation. They’re not wearing masks do not wash their hands. Previously, at least in restaurants washed their hands, and thosenow it is not. But after a week in the city will be warm, and home we people do not pound.

– Of your colleagues who said that they would support your pitch on opening?

– No, of course, and I understand them. The restaurant community is one of the most difficult. Each other jealous of each other “all about eve”, all trying to displace more successful competitors. Therefore, there will never be a Union of restaurant workers. But if not measures will be introduced for at least in Moscow, to open it is my duty. If the local government or the CPS can explain to me than being in a restaurant is more dangerous than riding the subway, I’ll pay the fine, which I will write.

No fear? Because the penalties for such violations are quite serious.

I Have debts to suppliers in the order of 2 million rubles. Well he will be 2 million 300 or 400 thousand. This is, by and large, not so important. I’m just trying to appeal to reason and solidarity. The city should live by the same rules for all. I can’t understand why the DIY stores can sell doors, nails and cleaner, and we can not work. Maybe the city is afraid that we will put the virus in our food. But delivery works. So to prepare us, it is not dangerous. Transfer meals via courier – so and the waiter. The question remains mingle with the other guests of the restaurant together. Well, let’s make even more distance between the tables, but start to work.

are You ready to reduce the number of desks in schools?

– We have reduced them at the end of March, having received a reasonable order of Rospotrebnadzor. It was prescribed how to act in high risk mode. We all did. Purchased sanitizer, started a journal measuring the temperature of the staff, has acquired masks and watched who comes to us, asked the group with symptoms of SARS to refrain from visiting the restaurant. If that’s not enough, consider another measures. For example, in the decree it was written that can not be located in the premises of more than 50 people. Let’s cut that number down to 10, let’s ban alcohol, not to sit in restaurants for a long time. Let’s limit the work time of restaurants themselves. But let’s get to work.

It’s important from another point of view. In the area of metro station “Vasileostrovskaya” is now a horror. I’ve only seen in the 90-ies. Hang out there are homeless, some strange-looking young crowd workers, which generally forgotten and they are again left without work. In a week it will become more disturbing the paint. All these people will need to pay for housing, buy food, and the money they will end. And these young people and migrants worked, including in restaurants: waiters, cleaners, porters, or laborers. But if the lockdown will be extended for another month? Who are we more afraid of night – patrols or most of these migrants?

– But restaurants via delivery?

shipping is not good for all. There are restaurants for delivery and even, perhaps, something to earn it, but I’m not one of them. I too love my guests, to feed them with dishes that hour lay in the basket with other smells. Probably, the pizza does not suffer from the transportation, land Russian people generally used to eat cold rice. But I love my job and delivery is not working.

– How many restaurants?

– I Have two restaurants. Can’t say that we grab the stars from heaven. Now it is actually quite difficult, and the beginning of the year was difficult, and the tragedy that unfolded at the end of March, are generally very hurt. On the Internet write that it was necessary to have a “safety cushion”. But this is ridiculous. For how long should we be? For a month? Two? A week? Year? We had a “safety cushion” in the amount of one million rubles. We gave her. In General, since the restaurant is fairly low-margin business, to save some big money restoretory can’t.

for example, I never could accumulate so much that it is easy enough to open another restaurant. We work for the current money. They pay for products, they also pay salaries and utility bills. The products goes from approximately 25 percent, yet the same salaries. About 10 percent is household goods and various other expenses 10% utilities. And about 30 percent rent. Thank God, both our landlord concessions and all vendors were very aware of, saying that we can settle up when this is all over. But the debt on utility bills, for example, are accumulated. And that restaurant is not one day. Guests come to us not so much for the food as for the atmosphere. We had it, but in three weeks she was gone. Now our restaurants are dead inside. And to create it, you need to work more than one day.

in addition, the opening of the restaurant does not mean that guests will go. First, many ran out of money. Secondly, strange as it sounds, people remembered that you can cook and save on the catering money can be spent on something else. So the restaurants is facing hard times.

How many people do you have?

the day before it was about 200 people, turnover amounted to about 100 thousand rubles a day. Staff I have 15, 12 of which are already retired or went on unpaid leave.

have wanted to leave without content?

– In the restaurant business working sensible people. If they hadn’t gone on vacation, I would still not be able to pay their salaries. And so they rest and help the company to at least to save taxes.

are You ready after the opening to take back everyone who quit?

– Not all of course. In mid-March we had a serious optimization, ceasing to hire people whose work we can perform. In General, restaurateurs are now very important to remember that twhich a real job. These last fat years allowed us to feel at ease. We could not afford to come to the opening of the restaurant and not sit there until its closing.

It was business, you’re talking about sitting in a different place. Now, I think we have to remember what it’s like to drive myself for groceries, what to serve guests, to open and close the restaurant. Before we told each other, like in small towns of France and in Italy, the owner of the restaurant itself goes for food, his wife serves the customers, the children helping her, and my grandmother washes dishes. We said: how cute. And this family business is very hard work. They work from morning till night, denying themselves even on vacation, knowing that the life of a restaurant depends on their work. And we’ve got chefs for 150 thousand rubles, hostesses, SMM managers and looked at it haughtily, drinking wine.

what were you doing in my restaurant before closing?

I’m not all right restaurateur, I like to do the repair. Now, while the restaurants were closed, I did, sorry, repair of toilets. Had to shift the tiles and glue Wallpaper. It is employment worth 2 thousand rubles a day, in the current environment I’d rather take the money themselves.

Tatiana BURDETSKY, “MK in St. Petersburg”

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