Hotel starts ‘posh drive-through’ as chef warns of ‘punishing’ lockdown rules
- Credit: Archant
A Norwich restaurant and hotel has launched an afternoon tea drive-through takeaway, as it warns it will take just five per cent of its usual trade in the coming weeks amid punishing lockdown rules.
The Assembly House, on Theatre Street, will be serving its Narnia-themed Cakeaway afternoon tea, a savoury Afternoon Cheese tea, Richard Hughes’ ready meals, drinks and iced birthday cakes among other treats from the “posh drive-through”.
Customers will drive to the front door, open their boot and give their name, before staff place their order in the boot.
It comes as restaurants and pubs across the county once again adjust new restrictions, reverting to takeaways and deliveries in what has become a more competitive market since spring.
Richard Hughes, chef director, said it had been supported by The Assembly House Trust, the charity behind the venue, and customers, with many having changed their bookings to takeaways or gift vouchers.
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But he said the constant adaptations were “incredibly punishing to the industry, the business and to staff”.
“We have had to adapt in order to survive but it is tough and we are looking at taking five per cent of what we would normally take over this period – and then we all face going straight into the traditionally quietest months for hospitality of January and February,” he said. “It feels particularly harsh that our industries such as ours are being penalised in what is, in effect, a half-lockdown in comparison to the first – watching small shops struggle as supermarkets are able to trade as usual is heartbreaking.
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“The consensus amongst those of us that are closed is that if we can come back in December and salvage something of the Christmas season, we may have cause to have a little optimism. Without that reopening, lots of businesses will just go under.”
He urged people to remember the businesses they loved - be it a restaurant, pub, hairdresser, beauty salon, shop or gym - and find a way to support them.
“Now is the time to buy your takeaways and your gift vouchers, to support them on social media and to look after them so they can look after you in the future,” he said.
The drive-through will be open from Wednesday to Sunday. People can also collect in person or order delivery through the Norwich Urban Collective. Order from www.assemblyhouse.co.uk/cakeaway