Summer gardens, expanded patios - the Corona summer gave the hard-hit restaurant industry, as well as the hotel industry, some opportunities to make up for pandemic-related losses. But now, with autumn, falling temperatures and worse weather are just around the corner - and with them new challenges. This is precisely why the "Cool Industry" association is appealing for continued responsible adherence to safety measures, especially now, in order to avoid further restrictions or even closures as far as possible. For "Cool Industry", DEHOGA Frankfurt, Frankfurt Hotel Alliance and Initiative Gastronomie Frankfurt (IGF) joined forces in October last year to demonstrate the attractiveness, diversity, innovative strength and passion of the industry. The core of "Cool Industry" is to further strengthen the image and to have an internal effect on the industry as well as on society. And that is an important task, especially this year.
Autumn and winter will be a new challenge for all of us. Already, politicians, virologists and epidemiologists are predicting rapidly increasing corona infections. And this could also hit the gastronomy and hotel industry with full force. Therefore, Eduard M. Singer, chairman and deputy president of the DEHOGA Frankfurt, emphasizes: "Guests have enormous confidence in our industry because our restaurateurs and hoteliers follow the clear guidelines for health protection well. Compliance with safety and hygiene measures is currently of elementary importance, we are all aware of our responsibility." So, in the coming months, wearing mouth-to-nose protection, spacing rules and keeping lists of names and addresses for possible tracking will continue to be the best ways to keep staff and guests safe and allow for carefree hours. With the end of the outdoor season approaching, the industry continues to work on viable and safe concepts to allow for the highest level of health protection indoors as well. After all, only when guests feel safe will they come to enjoy relaxed hours in the restaurant, cider bar or hotel.
Singer is pleased about one particular aspect: "We are grateful to the politicians in Frankfurt for their promise to allow the expansion of outdoor catering areas until April 30, 2021, without red tape and without additional costs. To this end, solutions are being sought to find relief for protection against rain, wind and cold and to allow protective walls over the one-meter limit."
That innovative and flexible ideas are needed is also illustrated by the example of Mananya Chantarabamroong, general manager of BKK Thai Street Food in Oeder Weg, whose restaurant opened in March a week before the lockdown. For her, preparations for the season are in full swing: "Our interior space is not large, so we are thinking about a sliding plexiglass partition to remain flexible with table seating." However, her priority is always to comply with the Corona rules: "The really cool ones are those restaurateurs and hoteliers who adhere to the applicable safeguards." Still, her guests would pay very close attention to whether the staff implements the regulations. The restaurateur even does more than recommended by the associations: "I even write down the table numbers to know which guest sat where." Those details, she says, are what leave guests feeling better. "We need to maintain the trust of our guests that we earned during the summer months and show that with the extensive safeguards in place, it's still okay to visit a restaurant or hotel, even during the winter months."
The hotel industry, hit by the Corona crisis, will try new promotions to lure guests to its properties. The Frankfurt Hotel Alliance wants to set up a pop-up concept, in which Frankfurt gastronomy businesses take over the hotel kitchen for a certain period of time. The Moxy Frankfurt East is to make a start. "This creates synergies and strengthens the cohesion of hoteliers and restaurateurs within the industry," says Christian Henzler, board member of the Frankfurt Hotel Alliance and captain of the Moxy Frankfurt East. Currently, they are still looking for restaurateurs who support the campaign. You can see: Ideas are there!
This is precisely why the "Cool Industry" draws a positive balance overall, despite a lot of bad news: "The past months have shown that the hotel and restaurant industry in Frankfurt have demonstrated solidarity and cohesion during the crisis and the lockdown that accompanied it. They have fought with commitment for their rights and opportunities," states James Ardinast, board member of the IGF. With actions such as "empty chairs" on Frankfurt's Römerberg or the protest against the "five-square-metre rule" that existed at the time, the gastronomy drew attention to its problems in a way that attracted public attention. Creativity was also demonstrated in the donation project "(W)eine Familie" (A Family), in which the money from the purchase of a bottle of wine from the renowned VDP winery Nik Weis is donated to Frankfurt gastronomy businesses. The hotel industry also mitigated the effects of the lockdown with creative campaigns, for example with an ice cream drive-in at the Kempinski Hotel Frankfurt.
In all campaigns, the industry worked hand in hand with associations and the city of Frankfurt am Main. As an outward sign, the "Frankfurt Culture Summer Gardens" are exemplary: Municipal areas where clubs, discotheques and restaurateurs present their offerings with cultural professionals. The expansion of the areas for outdoor gastronomy has also been implemented unbureaucratically thanks to the good cooperation with the city of Frankfurt.
This summer, gastronomers were thus able to present their wide range of offers to the people of Frankfurt and the city's guests on enlarged outdoor areas. James Ardinast is satisfied despite all the difficulties: "Even if this summer was certainly not one of the best in terms of turnover, the good weather, the willingness of the city of Frankfurt, the high level of commitment of the restaurateurs and, last but not least, the joy of the people who have accepted our offers have helped us to look positively into the future. We will take this positive momentum with us into the upcoming autumn and winter season."
We are keeping our fingers crossed that Frankfurt's gastronomy and hotel industry can meet this challenge. You can also find more info at: www.coolebranche.de