This whole situation is so bizarre. I was supposed to be in New York last month for my wife’s 60th and the thought of big cities like that being completely shutdown still seems hard to fathom.
Sugo opened Monday 20th July and we got 700 covers on the first two days which is encouraging.
Both Paesano Pizzas have been open for collection throughout lockdown and we were lucky that our offering fitted the bill. We sold between 1,700 and 2,000 every day.
I opened Paesano Miller Street on 27th July and plan to open Paesano Great Western Road the following Monday. We have put stringent safety measures in place – like screens and infrared thermal scanners that take customers’ temperatures and then it’s either access denied or access granted.
We have also trained our staff fully, have a full-time cleaner cleaning all the time and banners displaying all our safety measures. I put in proper glass and steel screens, which cost me 12 to 14 thousand pounds for Mitchell Street Paesano alone. I got screens because the 1-metre social distancing would have meant that we would have been down 50 per cent on normal occupancy rates, but as it stands we are up 75 per cent of normal occupancy with the screens. We also have an app and one person per table for track and trace and they can also order via it and join thew queue via the app and it contacts them when their table is ready.
I had all 186 staff on furlough until the end of May. I couldn’t believe the government’s furlough scheme quite honestly. I actually did an interview on the government possible lowering VAT and I couldn’t believe it when they did that either. If I retain my staff and they are still in a job in January, I get £1000 for each one of them.
I’m optimistic for the future because our customer base comes from the 25 – 35 age bracket and so we are well placed there because I feel that this age group, generally speaking, is more confident about venturing out. People in their 50s and 60s are still a wee bit reluctant, including my wife.
Our dwell times are also short, lunchtime is about 35 45 mins on average and our price points very keen, so that also gives me a lot of optimism. I got an email from a customer saying she was very grateful for all the safety measures and that it was thorough and she appreciated it, which is always good to hear.