Reservations are good

Reservations: Gastro telephones run hot

The closer we get to May 19, when coffee houses, inns, restaurants and pub gardens are once again allowed to receive and entertain guests, the greater the rush for the booking systems. Whether by e-mail, telephone or using specially programmed software on the website: Numerous restaurateurs reported to noe.ORF.at about "glowing lines".

Otto Raimitz's four restaurants in St. Pölten and Krems are “almost fully booked”. There are already countless inquiries for his fifth company, which will now be reopening in downtown Krems. "The telephones are running hot," says Raimitz, the staff was already busy taking all reservations before the opening on May 19.

In general, the booking situation in Lower Austria is “very, very good”, explained Mario Pulker, head of the gastronomy division of the Chamber of Commerce, in an interview with noe.ORF.at, “and I assume that bookings will increase even more.” Many businesses had already set up answering machines for table reservations, others had their own email boxes for bookings and Raimitz also said that he had received his first booking for the new opening on a sticky note on the restaurant door. "A lady wanted to reserve a table for breakfast, but couldn't find anyone, so she stuck a note on the door for us."

Reservations are voluntary

Unlike in the past, it is not mandatory to register a visit to a restaurant this time. Industry spokesman Pulker attributes the fact that so many reservations are still being made to “that people really missed the gastronomic offers and can't wait to come back to their regular restaurants. And many do not want to miss the opportunity to get hold of a table right from the start. ”However, when visiting a restaurant, the contact details of at least one person per household must be given.

After the industry was badly hit by the crisis, the joy about the opening is now all the greater, says Pulker. However, the staff shortage is a headache for some companies. "In some areas and regions we already have the issue that we have too few skilled workers and too few female employees at the start of the season." On the one hand, the industry was looking for staff before the crisis, on the other hand, seasonal workers in the pandemic were mainly in other industries emigrated - more on this in “Almost everyone wants to open, but there is a lack of staff” (noe.ORF.at; 13.5.2021).

Special case night gastronomy

The night gastronomy, however, must continue to be closed. “It is a positive sign that the daytime catering is opening, because this is the basis for the further opening of the nighttime catering. However, there is absolutely no prospect for night gastronomy in the regulation, ”complains Stefan Ratzenberger, chairman of the Association of Austrian Night Gastronomers (VÖNG). This shows that a legal definition for night gastronomy urgently needs to be created, he reiterated a demand that arose in the course of the lockdown.

The VÖNG spokesman also called for short-time working in night restaurants to be maintained until the end of the pandemic measures. This also applies to the fixed cost subsidy. The reduction in sales tax to five percent must remain until the end of 2022. In addition, tent festivals would have to be subject to the same requirements as the catering trade. It is hoped that this will result in less business drainage. "Without further economic aid until the first quarter of 2022, the domestic night-time gastronomy will no longer exist in the form it was before the pandemic," warns Ratzenberger.