“There’s going to be no honeymoon period” - Claude Bosi on re-opening

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Claude Bosi on re-opening Bibendum the Oyster Bar restaurant at Michelin House

Related tags Claude bosi Oyster Bar Claude Bosi at Bibendum Michelin French cuisine London

Claude Bosi is less confident about UK restaurants bouncing back than their continental counterparts because of differing attitudes to eating out on these shores.

Speaking on BigHospitality’s​ latest podcast, the high-profile French chef says most Brits don’t consider restaurants to be an essential part of life and their culture, and that this could have a detrimental impact as businesses re-open their doors.

"To go to a restaurant is part of the mentality of the French, Italians and the Spanish,” he says. “They go to restaurants for lunch and dinner.

“It's what you do. It's part of life. In England it's different. Of course, some will want to go out, and that's great.”

Bosi is also concerned about a lack of momentum as restaurants re-open. Typically, new launches benefit from a honeymoon period but with so many businesses re-opening this summer that won’t necessarily be the case.

"This is the first time I’ve opened a restaurant without knowing what will happen. Usually you write the menu and people come and see what you’re doing because it’s a new thing.

"But this time there's no honeymoon period. You just re-open after closing for three months when people are wondering if it's safe to go outside. That’s an issue."

The two Michelin-star chef behind Claude Bosi at Bibendum and the more casual Oyster Bar has also questioned the Government’s decision to allow much of the hospitality sector to re-open on a Saturday.

“Everyone is off. It's going to be a car crash. The press is going to be terrible. Pubs could be banned. One metre distancing is not going to happen,” says Bosi, who has been involved in a number of pub businesses over the years including the Fox & Grapes in Wimbledon and The Church Inn in Ludlow.  

The Frenchman plans to relaunch his downstairs Oyster Bar on 8 July, but his highly-rated flagship won't re-open until early September.

Bosi believes that a combination of very few tourists, Londoners holidaying elsewhere in the UK and a general downturn in eating out could leave his two dining rooms at Chelsea's Michelin House half full.

"We need to turnover £200,000 a month to break even. I don't think London is going to be busy enough to keep the place going. My wage bill is high."

"If I open both of them only running at 50% we'll be gone in two months. It's better to continue with the furlough scheme," says Bosi, who is planning a major overhaul of the Oyster Bar’s menu.  

#UnitedWeStand​ has been created by William Reed hospitality titles BigHospitality, Restaurant magazine and Morning Advertiser and is supported by Britvic, CocaCola European Partners and Unilever Food Solutions.

To download this podcast via iTunes, click here.




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