Alexander Herrmann: "I took out almost $ 870,000 in loans": Star chef on the dance on the edge

The eating places are closed, the staff are at their restrict and the promised monetary help just isn’t coming. Star chef Alexander Herrmann on the battle for existence, main disappointments and the way forward for gastronomy – a protocol.

The barber outlets will quickly be capable of reopen, however the restaurateurs nonetheless have their ovens off. Star and TV chef Alexander Herrmann runs the “Posthotel” with a two-star restaurant and a bistro in Wirsberg and the eating places “Imperial” and “Fränk’ness” in Nuremberg. “My employees are psychologically exhausted,” he says. The star chef tells the star how he skilled the previous Corona months, why his belief within the authorities has suffered and the way the gastronomy should place itself sooner or later.

“When the first lockdown started, I was in a state of shock. It wasn’t until days later, when I understood the financial implications, that it started to explode in my head. I knew if something didn’t happen, we’d last three or four weeks Then that was it. The fears were enormous. At the same time, I had to handle my team. On the one hand, I had a horde of wilders Racehorseswho raced forwards and backwards within the paddock and fell into actionism and others who stood within the nook and most well-liked to attend and see. That was loopy.

Until the mortgage approval got here from the financial institution, I had sleepless nights. We took out loans totaling virtually EUR 870,000 for 2 corporations. They should be repaid inside 4 years. I’ve calculated that from autumn onwards we should pull round 570 euros internet each day from the financial institution. You should know that I’ve round 70 % of the prices of each turnover, of which round 30 % are value of products and 40 % are personnel prices. The remaining 30 % is for hire, loans, electrical energy, water, charges and all different imputed prices. That means I’ve to make round 2300 euros in gross sales to have the ability to repay the 570 euros. It’s horror after I consider it.

“Knitted with a hot needle”

At the second all the pieces is knitted with a scorching needle. We verify weekly how lengthy we’re nonetheless how liquid. Keep tables of when cash is coming in and when payments must be paid. We go into the smallest element. Dirt mats? We need not go proper now. Gema? We don’t have any background music – gone. And and and. We try all the pieces to make it till the monetary help arrives.

It is necessary that we restaurateurs present that we’re doing one thing and never simply sit down and scream that we want coal. In a process pressure crew from Nuremberg and Wirsberg, we developed the connoisseur bins as a part of a pilot challenge throughout the first lockdown, which resulted within the Starchef field and a brand new startup. (We have already tested the Starchef box, read the text here again.) And we now have created and arrange a supply service in Nuremberg and a take-away supply in Wirsberg. What is available in financially, nevertheless, is a drop within the ocean.

We nonetheless do that for 2 causes: firstly to maintain the staff mentally up and since a resort cools down when it is closed for 3 months. It’s like an previous cargo ship, if you happen to flip the diesel off there, you want an explosion to get the engine to start out once more. That is why we proceed to function with little or no pressure. But neither with prepare dinner bins nor with take away or TV appearances can I take up the losses, or at most cushion them. I make use of 120 folks, that’s personnel prices of greater than 360,000 euros monthly. With the November and December help promised, we might cowl the prices and pay the workers.

The help ought to be paid out weekly, that is what I relied on. But now it is February and we nonetheless have not acquired all of it. The indisputable fact that it did not work in any respect was an enormous disappointment and likewise a breach of belief within the construction of the federal government with regard to the implementation of the promised help. This is likely one of the the explanation why I’ve been working over the previous few months to sharpen our constructions and redefine the idea. That helps my staff as a result of they now know precisely what to do with issues. The narrowed culinary supply can also be a lever for value management in order that I haven’t got to do something in regards to the worth.

The catering business has to adapt ideas

I feel cleansing up the menu is one thing that restaurateurs should cope with sooner or later. Does an inn have to supply ten totally different roasts or is 4 sufficient, that are a particular spotlight? The similar applies to the query of which meals are purchased and the way. It’s not about compromising on high quality. But it makes a distinction whether or not I supply a sea bass or a char. So the query of whether or not I ought to persist with sure costly merchandise or swap to merchandise which might be additionally of top of the range however have a extra attention-grabbing worth. That must be explored.

What helps us is the discount in VAT on meals from 19 to 7 %, which ought to apply by the top of 2022. That was one of many largest bailouts the federal authorities has accomplished for us. It can be unhealthy, nevertheless, if we had been to fall into a brand new type of worth warfare. Rather, I see {that a} worth improve of between three and 5 % might be anticipated – simply to compensate for inflation.

I work twice as a lot as regular in lockdown. My principal process for the time being is to oversee my staff throughout the lockdown. That prices an unimaginable quantity of energy and vitality. My crew is totally screwed, they’re psychologically on the finish. The most necessary factor for us due to this fact stays that the guarantees are saved and the help paid out. ”

Protocol: Tina Poker