Running a restaurant at the moment is definitely more exciting and difficult than ever. After recently opening for lunch things have been moving well for us, or at least as well as we could expect. Though lunches are not as busy as we would hope yet they are growing steadily as our dinner business also has over the last year, and the hope is to continue this growth slowly to ensure our quality is up. This being said I have not managed to have a day off in over a month and the 70+ hour weeks are starting to take their toll, especially having to maintain the regular duties in addition to the extra jobs assigned to us by the government regulations.
As most people know by now all restaurants in Sydney and New South Wales for that matter have been hit with further restrictions. Though we wholeheartedly agree with these and always go the extra mile not only obeying them but ensuring we have a safe dining environment it is devastating to see the number of restaurants on the Northern Beaches who simply do not care about them, and the number of patrons who still visit these places. Unfortunately for us if another outbreak does occur it will affect us all equally, with the main difference being we are unable to build a nest egg at this time as we are still limited on capacity while the ones breaking the rules are able to maximise their profits, and so far with no consequences whatsoever.
Another recent government revelation that has hurt us significantly is the fact that we will not be eligible for the extended jobkeeper program despite the fact that our capacity is legally restricted. As a new business we have shown consistent growth, and as such are now slowly catching up to where we were before COVID even with new restrictions (though this is also partly to the extended opening hours). Unfortunately this means rather than being rewarded for adapting and innovating alongside 7 day working weeks day and night for me to allow this to happen we will instead be left out of the new program while those who have reduced their operation rather than increased it will still be eligible.
Despite the above issues I am still very pleased with the direction of the restaurant, the customers are fantastic and really starting to appreciate the work we put in and I believe we are well on the way to becoming one of the best casual Italian restaurants on the Northern Beaches, though we are not quite there yet and there is always things we can improve on. The best thing about the customers support has been we are now hiring two new chefs and one front of house staff member to take some of the burden off us as owners so that we can hopefully have a day off together, something we have not had in over two months. Hopefully together we can all keep the virus under control for the foreseeable future and ensure that as many businesses and people can survive this without it taking too much of a toll on us all financially or mentally.
Again for anybody reading this I cannot thank you enough for the support you have shown. I never expected running a restaurant to be easy and definitely didn't predict a global pandemic, but it really is easy to work longer hours when surrounded by such great people both in our staff and customers.