Top restaurant shares re-opening tips


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Top restaurant shares re-opening tips

  • Date 1:30 PM Thursday 14 May 2020
  • Type COVID-19

Leading Marlborough restaurant owner Liz Buttimore is hearing some local food outlets are confused or worried they will get the rules wrong in reopening under Level 2 restrictions.

She agrees the challenges can appear overwhelming and advice often comes in a stack of pages, so she’s come up with a simple two-page document with ideas on how a food outlet can get back into business

(*available on request).

During Level 3 she and business partner Bradley Hornby were offering in-home dinner party kits to 50 guests a day, whilst following the strict guidelines.

Liz shared advice with several other Marlborough businesses assisting them to continue trading. Now she wants to help others who still have concerns about re-opening under Level 2.

She says the key words for Level 2 are: Seated, Separated, Single Server. Her two-page tip sheet is not intended to override legal advice or Government, Council or industry body requirements.

“This is just a simple sheet to help people clear their heads and assess the changes they need to make. We have a wide range of food and beverage experience and we want all our peers to survive this.”

This includes using technology such as guests paying online or if not, using triplicate docket books to allow for simple contact recording and tracing; avoiding having two people working shoulder to shoulder on a coffee machine; and creating ways for guests to not have to touch toilet locks and handles.

“You should have bottles of hand sanitiser around the place for staff and guests, and use them often. I’ve got no finger prints left!”

Liz says struggling restaurants and cafes should also talk to their landlords and look at options including moving to a percentage of turnover rather than fixed lease payments. “It is going to be tough for them to replace you but remember they are a business too with costs that need to be met. Work through this together.”

She says her two-page document is only a guide and anyone consulting it needs to confirm it with other advice including the Government’s COVID-19 website.

Liz notes that a range of supported professional business advice is available via agencies including the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce and Business Trust Marlborough.

She is no stranger to pandemics. She caught swine flu a decade ago whilst travelling in Malaysia and is still dealing with the health problems that arose from it.

“My family and business partner were truly scared for me,” she says. “Your health has to come first and then the business comes after.’’

Arbour will be re-opening next Tuesday with less covers so guests feel safe and the team can manage the Level 2 requirements. The restaurant, which won a prestigious Two Hat award from Cuisine Magazine last year, is hopeful they will see 60% of pre-lockdown guests.

*Copies of Liz’s two-page guide to reopening under Level 2 available on request from

DISCLAIMER This information is guidance only and should not be treated as legal advice.

Go to the COVID-19 website for the latest Government guidance


The information in this media statement was correct at time of publication. Changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information.