Its been an interesting month and a bit since re-opening, as we strive to adapt to a new way of welcoming, serving and managing our guests. Keeping a distance from customers and asking them to "assist" with service by passing plates feels incredibly unnatural. Most of you understand, but when an isolated review appears criticising us for untrained, unprofessional staff, you do begin to wonder what sort of a selfish, egocentric world we are living in.
I feel the pandemic has highlighted how selfishly we have been living for so long, thinking only about our own needs, our own world, raising our expectations to such elevated levels that when they can't be met, we inevitably come crashing down with a major sulk (only to be soothed by an unkind rant on Tripadvisor)
This is a time for deep understanding, for patience and compassion towards others. Taking the time to ring and cancel a table reservation if you are unable to honour a booking is a polite, respectful habit that should be automatic, even when not in a pandemic. During these difficult times, it is imperative. We are operating with less than half of our tables - not really a viable business - so when we turn people away because all tables are booked, and then guests don't show, it hits us extremely hard!
Supporting the businesses we care about in a safe and heart-felt manner will hopefully keep French Living alive. However, it's with a certain sadness that the lure of "money-off" seems to be the only motivation behind helping out a struggling business. This government scheme has simply shifted the week-end to the beginning of the week, with trade returning to slow and steady the moment there is no promotion. Steady support from customers throughout the week would be more beneficial and would feel more heart-felt.
We have decided to raise spirits, be positive and share our spare kitchen capacity during these slower trade days by giving back to our community in their hour of need. Child food poverty in Nottingham is shockingly high and rising as a result of this pandemic. Many children return to school after the summer holidays noticeably thinner because they have been deprived of the one nutritious meal available to them at school. This is why French Living has joined forces with HolidayHungerUK to help provide meals for these vulnerable children.
Sharing, giving and supporting our families, as well as the wider community, will hopefully become instinctive and the norm in the aftermath of this crisis as we take the time to reassess our values and the things that matter most to us.