An Islington cafe has garnered attention this week after praising their landlord on social media this week and thanking him for his help during the coronavirus crisis.
With a return to indoor dining on May 17, it was the first chance hospitality businesses have had to welcome customers back properly since last year.
Earlier this week, Kipferl cafe’s social media posted the following tweet, with a picture attached of their landlord Bob.
He could be seen beaming as he enjoyed a slice of cake and coffee from the Austrian coffeehouse and kitchen – their first customer of the day.
It read: “This is Bob. Bob is our landlord, and has supported us a lot through all the lockdown.
“He was our first customer this morning. Don’t be like other landlords and kill our businesses.”
The post has since racked up nearly 4,000 likes on Twitter, with many followers sharing their appreciation towards Bob.
Hubert Zanier, who works at Kipferl, told MyLondon the lengths their landlord, Robert Borzello, had gone to to help out during the last year or so.
He explained: “Bob has been supportive in several ways.
“From waiving/reducing rent for the time we were closed or had limited business, to helping us pay for upgrading and refurbishing the property during lockdown.
“He was also in the cafe pretty much every day, bought cakes from us which he sent to all his family and friends all over the UK – we started to deliver our cakes nationwide – had his daily coffee there, and also morally supported us at any stage of the lockdown.”
He went on to explain how not being able to serve customers in the restaurant meant losing 90 percent of their turnover.
They were luckily able to open for takeaway “relatively quickly” but their hot food takeaway and delivery was nowhere near as profitable as beforehand.
Hubert shared: “We have been able to mitigate some of the turnover by opening an online shop where we sell our cakes, wines etc. and in the second half of the last 14 months that helped a lot.
“The uncertainty during all this time was really draining, not knowing what lockdown 2 and 3 meant, for how long they will last, if we will survive the next one…”
He said how during the period they have managed to do some refurbishment improving the cafe such as installing aircon, introducing a revamped menu and more.
“And having people with us in the restaurant is just such a good feeling!” Hubert added.
The restaurateur admitted he had friends who had not been so lucky with their landlords during the tough time for the hospitality business.
“Unfortunately there are so many small restaurants with one landlord who just wanted them out, chain restaurants where several landlords blocked a CVA (a process to relaunch a business and get rid of part of the debt).
“It is very hard to understand though, because landlords in areas where business has gone down massively will find it extremely hard to find a new tenant, will have to give long rent free periods and will not be able to get rents anywhere close to pre-Covid levels.
“So finding a solution with the existing tenant is always a more sensible solution, also for landlords!”
Asked what he thought the most important thing customers could do to support Hubert had some small but effective suggestions.
He concluded: “Come and dine with us as often as possible, recommend us to family and friends, include us in posts on social media.”
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