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Restaurants in Berlin are allowed to reopen - but is it also worth it?

Over the past few weeks, restaurateurs throughout Germany and especially in Berlin have drawn attention to their difficult situation: Corona has forced many shops to close, at least temporarily. Others set up a takeaway and delivery service in no time at all, others even rebuilt their business model. Relaxation has now been announced, restaurants in Berlin are allowed to reopen promptly and serve guests - but under strict rules. But is the operation still worth it?

Daeng Khamlao, operator of The Panda Noodle at Lausitzer Platz, is not sure: “For a shop like mine, I don't know whether it will be financially viable.” Without outside seating, she would only be allowed a maximum of four tables inside have two guests.

Restaurants in Berlin are allowed to reopen - from mid-May?

"No matter what easing comes, nothing will come to the sales that you need right now," she continues. Such a small number of guests also has an impact on the workflow, they would then need more throughput, which affects the hospitality, and might also have to limit their offerings. There wasn't much time for planning, according to the updated Corona regulations, restaurants are allowed to reopen from May 15.

Weiena Chan from the Taiwanese bistro Cozymazu in Wedding has a similar experience. “We have a guest room of 40 square meters,” she reports. If the regulations really, as rumored, only allow one guest per ten square meters, the operation is actually not worthwhile for them. She is sure that it will not be enough: "We will definitely continue with the takeaway and delivery service."

Markets as a new source of income

Khamlao has also developed an additional source of income: on the weekends, she organizes a market in her restaurant with products from producers who are friends. It will continue to do so over the next few months. Especially for the producers involved: "Too many people need the smells like market just to make money - and it's nice to do something different."

The Lode & Stijn restaurant on Paul-Lincke-Ufer will also continue to operate its weekend market and bakery, explains co-founder Lode van Zuylen: “Before the crisis, half of our guests did not come from Berlin, but perhaps from Munich or London. A large part of this will disappear, which will force us to adapt our concept ”. But that is not so bad at all, he continues optimistically.

Restaurants in Berlin are allowed to reopen - but there is no advance notice

What worries him rather: “We are sitting in an existential crisis that has overturned us all. And then all of a sudden yesterday evening the news came that from May 9th to 20th the catering trade throughout Germany could gradually reopen. "

It would have been better, according to van Zuylen, if there had been a bit of advance. If, for example, the restaurants in Berlin had been informed this week that they could reopen around the 20th. “In our case and with many others, we are actually opening a new company”. They had just bought takeaway packaging for the next three weeks. But at the same time he is happy to return a little bit to normal.

Normality still a long way off

However, it is questionable whether something like normality will also return to the minds of the guests. Mary Scherpe, operator of the online portal “Stil in Berlin” and founding member of the “Feminist Food Club”, reports on a survey that she started on her social media channel: of over 400 participants, 42 percent thought it was still too risky to visit restaurants again.

Of course, the survey is not representative, but gives indications for the coming weeks. “At the moment, the easing is presented as a return to normal. But the restaurants won't open like they were before. And the guests won't come back in the same way, ”says Scherpe. Yes, outdoor catering should be allowed again, "but it will not be the adjusting screw that brings restaurants back to normality and their previous sales."

Not only Berlin restaurants, but also large shops can count on easing: everyone will be up again next week - with these rules? The pubs are also struggling, because the good old pub in Berlin is threatened due to Corona. The signs point to change in Berlin's gastronomy: “Traditional status symbols have outlived themselves”. Do you want the latest information on the Berlin gastro scene? Follow our Tip Berlin Food Instagram channel!

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