Have you heard of the Lithuanian initiative that's saving their capital's hospitality sector? There are some guardian angels in our industry looking to do the very same thing across the UK.
"Alan at that point just thought, 'Why can’t we do this here?'"
Alan (founder), Tristan (ops director) & the rest of the wonderful team at Piano Works have launched the UK initiative - UK Grand Outdoor Summer Café - and are spending every minute they have, working to lobby the government to permit local hospitality businesses to utilise outdoor public spaces nearby their venues to serve food & drinks.
"The Minister for Local Government is reported as saying he is considering granting a blanket permission to allow tables and chairs outside hospitality venues."
We caught up with Tristan, who filled us in on all we need to know. Here's what we found out:
- This UK-wide campaign could enable operators to increase their seated capacity by allowing them to use previously inaccessible outdoor areas for dining or drinking. This will help them manage physical distancing measures when reopening, and increase their heavily reduced capacities making reopening commercially viable.
- Donations are being made to provide vouchers to frontline workers. These vouchers can be used in the venues that sign up and will be redeemed by the venues at face value.
- The team have been in talks with top-level industry leaders, such as Kate Nicholls. They have some of the biggest operators behind the cause - Yummy Pubs, Barburrito, All Star Lanes, Smoking Goat and Caffe Nero to name but a few.
Something we couldn't be more appreciative of is the push on their behalf to think of our frontline workers. They've truly managed to create a campaign that helps everyone through 3 very simple ways.
1. Frontline workers will be rewarded.
2. Operators will become more commercially viable.
3. The public will be able to meet family & friends safely.
What can we do to help this initiative?
🎙 Brigad's full interview with Tristan 🎙
Hi Tristan, please could you introduce us to the UK Grand Summer Outdoor Cafe?
The UK Grand Summer Outdoor Café is a campaign started by Alan Lorrimer, founder of The Piano Works, with the aim to safely re-start the UK hospitality industry by transforming public spaces and streets into fabulous al fresco dining spaces whilst adhering to physical distancing.
The campaign proposes that seating on pavements, squares and open spaces outside of restaurants and bars be permitted and is calling on the government to issue a directive to grant local authorities a temporary deregulation to allow tables and chairs outside existing hospitality businesses.
We aim to raise a lot of money in order to be able to provide vouchers to our frontline workers to say a huge thank you for keeping us all safe. These vouchers will be used in our venues either as part of our Grand Summer Outdoor café or in the venues themselves when it is safe to do so.
What led to this initiative taking place?
After weeks of very pessimistic reporting on the COVID19 crisis from the hospitality industry, Alan came across the first positive news piece from CNN’s website since this crisis erupted. CNN reported on an incredible initiative from the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, planning within days to utilise the use of outdoor space for bars, restaurants and cafés to operate. This would increase seated capacity and help businesses cope with the requirements of physical distancing. Alan at that point just thought “Why can’t we do this here” and so UKGSOC.org began.
Great proactivity from Alan! Who’s involved in the campaign?
The team at The Piano Works are running the campaign with the support of our tech partners Eagle Eye and Wireless Social. We are also currently supported by over 100 key industry operators and this number grows daily.
How will this campaign help businesses?
This campaign will potentially enable operators to increase their seated capacity by allowing them to use previously inaccessible outdoor areas for seated dining or drinking tables. This will help them manage physical distancing measures when reopening and increase their heavily reduced capacities making reopening commercially viable. The money raised for the frontline vouchers will be spent and reimbursed to operators at face value, driving business into their venues and increasing customer confidence to go out by being aware of frontline workers socialising in our venues.
What are your plans for this initiative to be rolled out across the UK? Have you had operators sign up in different regions?
UKGSOC was setup with being UK wide from the beginning and we have already had many multisite, UK wide operators sign up. We need more and we need to push our message out to all corners of the UK as this is a project that would benefit the economy and hospitality industry across the United Kingdom. If Brigad can contact their database of operators to get involved and support our campaign we would be hugely grateful.
We're more than happy to do so Tristan! When could we see this come to fruition and what are the next steps to getting there?
The first part of our campaign has succeeded and The Minister for Local Government is reported as saying he is considering granting a blanket permission to allow tables and chairs outside hospitality venues, subject to highway and safety concerns. This is great news as we enter the second stage of the campaign. We are generating a lot of press interest in the idea of encouraging the public to say thank you and donate money to provide our frontline workers with complimentary vouchers to be used at our venues.
Why is it important for operators to register?
We need to create a ground swell of support from within the industry by gaining support from operators who would help raise funds to support the issuing vouchers to our key frontline workers by spreading the word to their respective databases. In turn our wonderful frontline heroes will come back and spend these vouchers in their venues allowing operators across the UK to get back to doing what they do best – caring for people and serving top quality food and drinks to their loyal customers.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
This is the important part: