Durban restaurant adopts ‘old school’ model to overcome Covid-19 woes
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DURBAN - A restaurant in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, has adopted a simple and innovative approach to overcome the financial stress placed onto the food and beverage industry during South Africa’s Covid-19 lockdown.
Ocean Basket in uMhlanga Rocks, just north of Durban, has started using the roadhouse style of serving food to its customers since last Friday and has received an “insane” amount of support from the surrounding community, said owner Terri Coetser.
Coetser said in an interview with the African News Agency (ANA) on Monday that the move followed an announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the country would move to lockdown level 4 for a period of 14 days since last Monday as a result of a dramatic spike in the number of Covid-19 infections across South Africa.
The sale of alcohol and dining in at restaurants, among other things, are prohibited under the health and safety regulations under level 4. The industry is generally labour intensive and workers rely on tips to bump up their salaries.
After several Zoom meetings were held to discuss lockdown regulations with other Ocean Basket owners, Coetser said the uMhlanga branch was the first in KZN to adopt the roadhouse model and it has removed an immense amount of pressure from the business.
The team decided to make use of a long piece of wood that spans through a vehicle, stretching across the driver and passenger windows. The food is then placed on top of the makeshift table for customers to enjoy their meal in the comfort of their vehicle.
“Since we started it, we have received an insane amount of support from the community. The turnout is fantastic. Obviously we follow the health and safety protocols 100%. Nobody jumps out of their car, neither do our staff members enter their car,” Coetser said.
The food and beverage industry took a severe financial knock as a result of the outbreak of the pandemic, but innovation like that displayed by the team at Ocean Basket in uMhlanga could help the rest of the industry stay afloat.
Coetser said that the idea has helped the branch keep staff members on and help them put food on the table during the pandemic.
“I’m hoping that a lot of other restaurants in the area and country follow suit because it has worked for us. Our employees are able to take home a salary now,” Coetser added.