Stress for level 3 restaurants as “impatient” customers have difficulty following the level 3 rules

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Some fast food places have been flooded after reopening and the sheer number of customers, coupled with the extra security precautions staff must take, add to the waiting time.

And after five weeks of waiting, for some, a little longer turns out to be too much.

“Some employees are used to getting drunk on Friday and Saturday evenings, but we see it more and more frequently around the clock in the building.

“So you don’t have to confront customers so closely most of the time, but then you get increased aggression.

“So there is an element of security and at the same time an element that is more exposed.”

The reopening was tied to a number of rules that companies had to enforce: contactless pickup, delivery or just drive-through, physical distancing, mandatory mask use, and contact tracing.

Marisa Bidois, executive director of the Restaurant Association, said Auckland businesses that rely on personal patronage have been completely banned from trading on 66 of the 544 days since last year’s lockdown.

“Although many of our companies are welcoming their customers back into business under the rules of distance, the smiles on the faces of the industry hides a lot of the fear and stress that these business owners have faced and are currently facing … as a result of a pandemic.”

After meeting with the government, the association released a roadmap to help the industry after the Covid-19 crisis.

The eight proposals include an expansion of the wage subsidy and the abolition of the GST for restaurant customers.

On the streets of Auckland’s Panmure, cafe owners say local support is getting them through.

Colombo Cafe manager Buddima told RNZ it was great to see the cafe’s regulars return.

“Yesterday was actually a lot going on, because all the neighbors and locals support us and help us to get back to normal.”

For Sharon, the owner of Cafe With No Name, the local support kept her happy. “Yesterday was crazy, we have some really loyal customers and they all came here yesterday for coffee and something to eat.

“We really had to try to diversify this time around and push the boundaries of what we normally do by offering meal sets and cooked meals.”

Bridget MacDonald, executive director of the NZ Alcohol Beverages Council, said you are now more than ever supporting your local funding.

“With some cash in the register, companies can keep their employees on board, and we really need to make sure people keep their jobs,” she said.

“Businesses have pretty high overheads, so if there’s money in the till they can pay their bills. John Crocker said customers should be prepared that service is a little slower.

“Realize that the staff are giving you what you want and they are doing their best,” he said. “And there will be a delay.

Delays occur because there are other customers who think exactly the same as you. “And there will be a delay because the staff has to protect everyone.

“That’s part of the cost. – We’re not level 1, that’s level 3.

“Yeah, you can kind of have what you want, but those are serious limitations.

“You have to understand that and be patient and understanding.”

So next time you pick up your flat white or french fries, think about the person who will prepare it for you. Follow the rules, be friendly – and maybe give them a tip.


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