As restaurants set up their terraces for outdoor dining (and look ahead to reopening their dining rooms in May), as diners, it can be easy to overlook the sheer amount of work involved in reopening a business.
Far from simply ordering in ingredients and reactivating a team of staff who have been waiting for the call up, the reality involves countless logistical hurdles and expenses to overcome – from staffing and supply chain issues, to the costs of providing reassurance via safety protocols – which can add up to be prohibitive for restaurants. It is also why many businesses have remained closed despite a relaxation of guidelines.
As owners and operators of a ten-strong group that includes the Michelin-starred Barrafina, taco specialists El Pastor and Casa Pastor, and legendary Soho establishment Quo Vadis, London’s Harts Group have opened plenty of restaurants in the past – but never have they reopened all of them within the same brief period of time.
We caught up with Sophie Orbaum, the group’s Communications Director, who catalogued just how much work went on behind the scenes in the run-up to the return of outdoor dining, and the Herculean task of preparing hundreds of staff to welcome the first guests on April 12th.