There was a meltdown on social media when Nando's confirmed it won't be opening up for Level 4.
You would have sworn that it was the end of the world for some people who were hoping that the popular fast food restaurant was finally returning to serve the people.
But it wasn't to be so.
Nando's joins the Spur Group's restaurants, Panarottis, and Ocean Basket who have decided that it doesn't make economic sense for them to begin operations at Level 4.
They, like the aforementioned restaurants, find that that the restrictions by the government that allows for only deliveries, doesn't work well for their business.
Being restricted by government to delivery only, in hours limited by a curfew, mean they will have to remain closed.
“Opening for delivery only will lose Nando’s and our franchise partners more money than being closed. We are focused on preserving the jobs of our thousands of employees into the future and can’t add to the already enormous weekly losses we’re suffering.” says Mike Cathie, CEO of Nando’s South Africa.
It's a statement echoed by the chief executive of the Restaurants Association of South Africa, Wendy Alberts, who said that these regulations suit the consumer more than restaurants.
Cathie says that they will only open their premises for take-away purposes if and when the government allows such to happen.
“Aligning with government’s approach, we believe the risks of Drive-Thru are actually lower than those for delivery.”
Spur group’s COO, Mark Farrelly revealed that during the social distancing phase of the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, franchises lost a lot of money.
"The restricted trade was so injurious that the lockdown almost came as a relief as the cost of individual closures was preferable to the hideous trading losses our franchisees were incurring," Farrelly wrote.
Spur and Panarottis restaurants will remain closed as long as they face restrictions on the number of customers and also whether restaurants will be allowed to sell alcohol or not.
Ocean Basket has also reportedly confirmed that it will also not be operating. Both groups cite operating costs of running large kitchens make it impossible for them to be a take-away only restaurant.
In a statement, Nando's revealed that instead of opening up for business, they are opening up some of their restaurants for a good cause - cooking for people where access to food is a challenge.
Together with KFC and McDonalds, Nando's will be working with Joint Aid Management (JAM) to feed hungry South Africans who are suffering because of hunger, thanks to the economic difficulties brought the Covid-19 pandemic.
Another restaurant has heeded the call for charity and is opening their kitchens to make food for the poorest in our community.
Bellevue Cafe, which is in Kloof in Durban's Upper Highway, will now be cooking meals for the needy – the old and frail, people who have lost their jobs and hundreds of children who are no longer able to receive their meals at school.
“We simply cannot stand by while the hunger crisis in our communities is so acute. Our team are also desperate to return to work and make a difference,” said Guy Cluver, founder and owner of Café Bellevue.
"The staff will come in small teams on a rotational basis to earn a daily cash wage and cook big pots of vegetables with either chicken or beef added for much-needed protein."
Sea Point café, restaurant and artisanal bakery Coco Safar has donated specially made bread to the Haven Night Shelter as it feeds and assists Cape Town’s homeless.
Known for its uniquely baked pastries and home-made beverages, Coco Safar, at the beginning of the nationwide lockdown, registered as an essential food services supplier with the DTI to continue supplying its surrounding community and the retail industry with food.
Coco Safar director Anina Malherbe-Lan said their bakery was looking to give back to the community when it decided to donate to the Haven Night Shelter.
The bakery donated its fresh homemade ciabatta bread to The Haven in De Waterkant.
“We wanted to help the less fortunate by donating to an organisation that was doing good. It was an amazing initiative and we have now decided to make regular donations to the shelter as well as others to spread love and hope to those in need,” said Malherbe- Lan.
Even with the losses the industry is facing, it's good to see them still thinking about the less fortunate than them.