Is this the future of eating out in the UK? Diners at pop up restaurant sit in family bubbles


Diners at pop-up restaurants will sit in family bubbles in separate pods and have individual serving hatches as businesses gear up for Super Saturday.

The St Moritz Hotel & Spa, at Trebetherick, Cornwall, was the first purpose-built socially-distanced restaurant and outlined its plan to maintain social distancing.

The resort, which has nicknamed itself The Anti-Social Club, will have a 96-person capacity in 16 dining rooms, with food and drink served through holes in the wall.

There will also be staggered eating times to help keep people apart as well as clear guidance for customers.

It comes as Britain prepares for Super Saturday, which will see restaurants, bars, pubs, hotels and other hospitality venues open for the first time in three months.

Businesses have to follow the Government’s ‘one-metre-plus’ social distancing rule in their own ways, with some installing glass or Perspex screens between tables.

The St Moritz Hotel & Spa, at Trebetherick, Cornwall, which has nicknamed itself The Anti-Social Club, has outlined how it will maintain social distancing from tomorrow

The resort will have a 96-person capacity across 16 dining rooms, with food and drink served through separate holes in the wall

The resort will have a 96-person capacity across 16 dining rooms, with food and drink served through separate holes in the wall

There will also be staggered eating times to help keep people apart as well as clear guidance for customers (pictured during preparations)

There will also be staggered eating times to help keep people apart as well as clear guidance for customers (pictured during preparations)

But at St Moritz Hotel & Spa individual dining rooms are to be served from a central atrium for staff as food and drink is delivered from the outside.

It was devised as a way to prevent the 20 workers from coming into close contact with visitors, to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Tables will be cleared and remade between groups of guests, with deep cleaning of rooms.

The hotel now looks like a blend of a private members’ club, a restaurant and a beach club due to its vibrant colours.

Co-owner Hugh Ridgway, who came up with the idea with co-owner Steve Ridgway and director of restaurants Jonathan Domé, told ITV West Country ‘COVID-19 has stopped the industry in its tracks.

‘Like all hotels, bars and restaurants across the globe, the virus has hit our business like an unbelievable sledgehammer.

‘However, as ever, we have dusted ourselves off, and risen to this unpredictable challenge in our own creative, St Moritz way.

‘Simply reworking our current restaurants and bars, and operating at 30 per cent capacity doesn’t allow that, so our specially-designed summer ‘pop-up’ restaurant, overcomes this obstacle, adding to, rather than detracting from, our stylish, VIP guest experience.’

At St Moritz Hotel & Spa individual dining rooms are to be served from a central atrium for staff as food and drink is delivered from the outside

At St Moritz Hotel & Spa individual dining rooms are to be served from a central atrium for staff as food and drink is delivered from the outside

Tables will be cleared and remade between groups of guests, with deep cleaning of rooms

Tables will be cleared and remade between groups of guests, with deep cleaning of rooms

This is the scene at the stunning hotel in Cornwall, with the beach just a short walk away from diners

This is the scene at the stunning hotel in Cornwall, with the beach just a short walk away from diners

Most restaurants shut when Britain went into lockdown at the end of March, with some flogging takeaway meals to help stay afloat.

Despite the huge demand, only around half of hospitality firms will reopen tomorrow, according to an industry survey of major chains.

It has led to one survey by the Mail on Sunday finding many restaurants and pubs across the country are already fully booked for the grand reopening.

Restaurant bosses said tens of thousands of customers bombarded reservation phone lines after the PM’s announcement last Tuesday.

Waiting lists for tables on Saturday night at sought-after venues are already understood to be hundreds long.

Restaurant tycoon Richard Caring, who owns some of London’s most famous venues including The Ivy, Scott’s and J Sheekey, the private members’ club Annabel’s and the hugely popular nationwide Ivy brasserie chain, said the initial 30 sites he will open on Saturday are nearly all fully booked.

The Ivy Collection brasseries will open on Saturday in Oxford, Guildford, Cambridge, Birmingham and Chelsea (pictured), among other places, as will Scott’s and Sexy Fish in Mayfair, London

The Ivy Collection brasseries will open on Saturday in Oxford, Guildford, Cambridge, Birmingham and Chelsea (pictured), among other places, as will Scott’s and Sexy Fish in Mayfair, London

He said: ‘The phone lines exploded, it was incredible. The first Saturday, July 4, was booked up pretty much immediately almost everywhere and bookings have continued into July, right across the country from central London to the countryside to Manchester.

‘The excitement has not only been with customers but with our staff, who are thrilled to be returning to work, which is hugely positive.’

The Ivy Collection brasseries will open in Oxford, Guildford, Cambridge, Birmingham and Chelsea, among other places, as will Scott’s and Sexy Fish in Mayfair, London.

Private members’ club Annabel’s, one of the capital’s most fashionable venues, already has a 400-strong waiting list for Saturday.

Celebrity chef Rick Stein last week began taking bookings for eight of his restaurants, including three in Padstow, Cornwall – The Seafood Restaurant, St Petroc’s Bistro and Rick Stein’s Café – which are popular with well-heeled holidaymakers.

He had 2,600 people across the eight restaurants booked in on the opening weekend by Sunday, with at least 12,850 people booked over the summer and autumn.

Executive chef Jack Stein, Rick’s son, said the firm’s booking systems had ‘taken a battering’ due to an ‘unprecedented’ spike in bookings. 

Celebrity chef Rick Stein last week began taking bookings for eight restaurants that will reopen on Saturday, including three in Padstow, Cornwall – The Seafood Restaurant, St Petroc’s Bistro and Rick Stein’s Café – which are popular with well-heeled holidaymakers

Celebrity chef Rick Stein last week began taking bookings for eight restaurants that will reopen on Saturday, including three in Padstow, Cornwall – The Seafood Restaurant, St Petroc’s Bistro and Rick Stein’s Café – which are popular with well-heeled holidaymakers

Wetherspoon pubs will be very different places when they reopen and the chain has said it will spend £11million getting them ready

He said: ‘We have never seen numbers like that in our entire history.’

Tables are available for up to eight guests from no more than two households.

Restaurateur Des Gunewardena, chief executive of D&D London, is opening 17 restaurants and all are fully booked.

The most popular is 20 Stories in Manchester, which has taken 500 bookings for Saturday.

Bluebird in Chelsea, Le Pont de la Tour near Tower Bridge and three restaurants in Leeds – Angelica, Crafthouse and Issho – are also all full with around 300 bookings.

Mr Gunewardena said: ‘We are full this weekend – and the rest of the weekends in July are looking good too.’

Peter Borg-Neal, chief executive of Oakman Inns, has taken 5,340 bookings for July 4 across his 25 pubs outside London.

Peter Borg-Neal, chief executive of Oakman Inns, said he had taken 12,340 bookings for the opening seven days. Pictured, Sexy Fish Restaurant in Mayfair

Peter Borg-Neal, chief executive of Oakman Inns, said he had taken 12,340 bookings for the opening seven days. Pictured, Sexy Fish Restaurant in Mayfair

Five pubs are fully booked, including The Betsey Wynne in Swanbourne and The Akeman in Tring, and five more in Ascot, Farnham, Milton Keynes, Abingdon and Amersham are close to capacity.

Mr Borg-Neal said he had taken 12,340 bookings for the opening seven days and enquiries were still flooding in.

He said: ‘That number is going up all the time as the phone is still ringing.’

Due to the surge in demand, he has told customers hoping to visit his pubs this weekend that they cannot turn up without a booking.

He added: ‘There seems to be a genuine wave of enthusiasm for getting out and socialising again.’

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