An acclaimed London restaurant operator says the option to use ‘pay per use’ catering equipment in a pop-up venture it launched in the wake of Covid-19 has been integral for keeping its costs in check.
Brian Hannon, co-founder and director of Super 8 Restaurants (below), owns three eateries – The Smoking Goat, Brat and Kiln – but as lockdown began to ease at the beginning of July he was faced with having to cut the capacity of the restaurants by 50%.
“We employ 135 people and we were facing the possibility of having to let some of them go, which we really didn’t want to do as they’re a great team,” he explained. “So we started looking for ways to keep the staff not required at our restaurants employed.”
Mr Hannon began searching for an outdoor space suitable for use as a restaurant and opened a pop-up site outside Climpson’s Arch cafe in London Fields, Hackney for three months, serving the menu from Brat.
The new pop-up is based underneath a railway arch, and has plenty of space outside for safe, socially distanced dining. It has a maximum of 50 diners at once, which is working out at about 150 covers a day on weekdays and 200 on weekends.
Mr Hannon uses Winterhalter warewashing systems at its existing sites and opted for two undercounter models at the pop-up – one for dishes and one for glasses.
As well as the staff’s familiarity with Winterhalter, the fact that the range is hygienically certified was very important. But, as with any start-up, keeping the cost down also played a key part in the final decision.
He took advantage of Winterhalter’s Pay Per Wash contract, a “no risk, no money upfront” option that includes the dishwasher, all chemicals and consumables and a comprehensive service and support package.
The company only pays when the equipment is operational, helping to reduce costs and eliminate initial capital costs.
“Pay Per Wash is fantastic value,” he said. “It means we can use the same best-in-class equipment that our staff already know and trust, without the initial outlay. Pay Per Wash is also very easy to use, you just log on to the portal and buy the wash cycles you need and it’s ready to go immediately.”
Pay Per Wash is designed to be flexible in order to help businesses adapt to changing circumstances.
“Initially we’re looking at a three-month residency here, but if we decide that we need the equipment for longer, we can easily extend the term, or even buy the machines outright,” said Mr Hannon.