Message from our Managing Director Tomás Maunier, shared on 30th April 2020
Thank you once again for reading and for all your messages. Apologies for the slightly longer update I share with you today (this is after shortening it and editing it a few times!)
It’s now 6 weeks since we decided to temporarily close our restaurants, the most difficult decision we had ever faced up until that point.
For us, keeping people happy is much more than just a job, it is in our nature. We see the role of bars, pubs and restaurants as a key aspect of our way of life. Humans are social animals who thrive and need interaction to become better. I for one cannot imagine a world without the joy of meeting friends and family for food and drinks. Our industry feeds from seeing smiles in people’s faces.
Today I look at the prospect of losing all these amazing bars, pubs, restaurants, hotels (we should not forget that the tourism industry is also walking on extremely thin ice) and how life would look like in that potential stage, and I do not like what I see. I fear for how life could be after this storm has passed. The state in which our villages, towns, cities will be in this regard makes me feel sad.
I want to see a beam of light. Light that helps us all come out of this crisis knowing that life, although considerably different, will feel quite like it did before. That light for me is the hospitality industry. I want to see the same places I liked visiting all open and surviving, providing happiness to our communities and jobs as well, offering a sense of purpose.
Hospitality needs our help today.
We understand the government is already doing a lot, however, the truth is it will not be enough to save most of the hospitality businesses. The same businesses that are today helping the country in so many ways by giving accommodation and food for the NHS, food for the most vulnerable, providing volunteers, etc. There are many voices out there estimating over 50% of the businesses will shut down forever.
The industry is working together to let the government know what we need, and one of those things is a National Time Out, helping tenants with their rents.
We would be very grateful if you could take some time to read the petition, and if you’re happy to do so, sign it.
At Fazenda we are working very hard to have all the means needed to come back in a strong position, and we are confident we will in one way or another, but this is not just about us, this is about the whole industry including the smaller businesses and independents out there that risked everything and through no fault of their own are on the verge of the worst.
We will have to start from scratch, that we know, but as long as we have the business open after the crisis and we can continue making people feel special and happy, and can provide a purpose for our team, then we are ok with that.
On a different note, we have also started working with our local councils and through them helping local charities that are feeding the most vulnerable in each city. I am not here telling you because of PR but because I want to tell you how proud I am of this business we have built and the people who are part of it and are helping make this possible.
Someone recently told me that we do the right thing because it is the right thing to do! I wish we could do more, and within our capabilities we’ll always try and help, because even the smallest gestures can go a long way.
Message from our Managing Director Tomás Maunier, shared on 23rd April 2020
I hope this update finds you and yours in good health.
We approach now the end of April and almost the sixth week since we had to temporarily close our doors. We have navigated the uncertainty that came with those first days, the guidelines and policies that followed, as well as the changes that were made to those after they were announced. None of these came without headaches and some level of stress but I am both proud of and grateful for our head office team, who has worked incessantly to ensure furlough was processed as smoothly as possible.
They are also working with me as we plan how things will work once all this passes. There are many question marks still with regards to timings and how lockdown lifting will look, but as always, we’ll communicate things to you all openly as information becomes available.
Planning during this time looks different than ever before because of those question marks I mentioned above, and many others too. Every single industry is treading unchartered waters and we will all need to adapt to what the new normal might look like, whether temporary or otherwise. I might come back in the coming weeks asking for your opinions on certain areas and will of course be thankful for any input you might offer us.
I have also been working with the team on different ways to help our immediate communities in Fazenda cities, and I’ll be sharing more details with you in coming updates.
Lastly, I’d like to thank you for the support we have received via the purchase of gift vouchers and also all the heart-warming messages I have received from you (thank you for your patience as I replied to them too!)
People sometimes laugh when I say we created Fazenda to welcome our guests to our home, that we love getting to know them more and nurture a relationship with them, but it’s true, that’s who we are and that’s what we believe in. Your words during this time have been amazing and encouraging, thank you!
Message from our Managing Director Tomás Maunier, shared on 2nd April 2020
I hope you and yours are safe and well.
After my last update I’m pleased to say we were able to furlough our entire team, with the exception of a few members from our Head Office team, who will continue to work during our temporary closure. Sadly, due to the cut-off date of 28/2/20 set by the government, we have had to lay off a few team members. We hope, however, the government can review this and help us furlough them retrospectively.
This is a hard time for all of us, individuals, businesses, industries. We have not gone through anything similar in our time so we have to navigate the uncertainties as best as we can, one day at a time. We are working hard to be able to have a healthy business back open once this passes.
I’m pleased to see our teams keeping morale high. We use an internal communications platform and during this time they’re sharing everything from recipes they’re trying at home, books they’re enjoying, how they’re keeping fit – both physically and mentally, how they’re handling distance learning for their children, among others. The mental health of our team members is important for us, so it makes me happy to see them all interacting with each other – albeit through a screen – and supporting each other every day. You can find some of the things they’ve shared with us on our social media channels, so do take a look if you have a chance (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook).
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those guests who have purchased Gift Vouchers – both from Fazenda and Picanha – since our temporary closure began. Your support never ceases to amaze and humble us. For those who visit our website you will see we have made some slight changes to our Gift Voucher section. As we don’t have any teams on site at the moment if you purchase a Gift Voucher you will receive an order confirmation, after which our Head Office team will create and send an electronic Gift Voucher a few days later. This electronic version will work in the same way as our standard ones, however, if once we’re back open you would like to receive a physical one, that’s not a problem, just let us know.
Once again, thank you for your continuous support. It means so much for all of us here at City District.
Message from our Managing Director Tomás Maunier, shared on 25th March 2020
I would like to offer a further update after our last. We are really pleased to say we have been able to retain all 400+ members of our team following the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
This worried us day and night, just like it did every other employer, and therefore our biggest triumph during this difficult time. We are still, however, awaiting for further Government clarity on how the scheme will work.
We debated the possibility of offering a delivery or takeaway service but decided against it as we believe Fazenda and Picanha are more than just food for our guests, they are an experience and we wouldn’t have been able to offer this through either of those. All our restaurants will therefore remain closed for the time being until we feel it is safe – following Government guidelines – to open again.
We are still doing everything in our power to maintain cashflow levels healthy to be able to open once this storm has passed, and we must thank all our suppliers, landlords and stakeholders for their support in this.
As I have mentioned in previous messages, should you wish to contact me with any questions please don’t hesitate to do so.
Message from our Managing Director Tomás Maunier, shared on 19th March 2020
I’m writing today to let you know that we have made the decision to temporarily close all our restaurants (Fazenda and Picanha by Fazenda) with effect today 19th March 2020.
We believe that after careful consideration it is the right decision for both our business and the communities that we serve.
The truth is we know we’re not perfect and we will never be – who is, after all – but we have built and nurtured this company on the basis of care; care for our guests and for our teams, as there cannot be a happy guest if there isn’t a happy team.
Caring about the humans behind the roles has always been our premise, which is why the decisions we have had to make are possibly the hardest ones we’ll ever face. At this stage we are not completely sure about what the best way to support our teams is, which is why we are keeping an open line of communication with all of them over the next few days and weeks to ascertain this.
In a situation that is beyond anyone’s control we have done our best to adapt, to offer alternatives, to make any necessary changes in order to continue welcoming you all and offering you the experience we so love to provide.
We are not the only ones going through this. Every single bar, pub, restaurant, no matter how big or small, is powered by humans who fulfil roles, each and every one of those key to delivering a service, an experience. So I ask for compassion and understanding for all hospitality businesses, as each of them is trying to make the best possible decisions in an unprecedented climate.
Our main goal right now is to survive this storm to be able to welcome you all once again in our home.
If you had made a reservation to visit us in the coming days, don’t worry, our teams will be in touch. You can also contact the individual restaurants – Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Chester – and our teams will get back to you soon.
As I said in previous messages, should you wish to contact me please don’t hesitate to do so.
I take this opportunity to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continuous support over the last 10 years. We look forward to welcoming you again soon and enjoying great food and great wine, together.
Message from our Managing Director Tomás Maunier, shared on 16th March 2020
Following today’s communication from the Government we would like to make you aware that all our restaurants – from both brands Fazenda and Picanha by Fazenda – will continue to be open for all guests. We have decided, however, to temporarily review our opening hours, having our last evening seating at 9pm between Sunday and Thursday.
The stricter sanitation and hygiene measures we put in place since last week will continue to be there (please see my message below from 12/3/20). I didn’t mention every single one of them so I take advantage to name a few more on this message. We are sanitising card machines after every use, as well as tills; we have a member of our team on every shift who is solely responsible for all sanitation of surfaces and touch points. Besides taking the temperature of our team members we are also taking the temperature of our suppliers’ delivery team when they visit our sites.
We have also made the decision to temporarily remove our Bar Food Menu in order to avoid serving finger food or food that is to be consumed without the use of cutlery.
Our reception team will be contacting our guests who are due to visit us in the coming days; if you are unwell or you wish to cancel your reservation for whatever reason please follow the link on your confirmation email or contact the relevant Fazenda or Picanha restaurant. Knowing about cancellations in advance allows us to plan ahead.
As a business – just like any other guest-facing business right now – we are working hard to ensure we go through this challenging time together and minimise the impact it has on all 400 members of our team as well as our guests. These are unprecedented times we’re all facing but we will do everything in our power to continue working together with our team to make you all, our guests, feel special when you visit us.
As I mentioned last time, if you have any queries at all, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
A message from our Managing Director Tomás Maunier – Shared on 12th March 2020
In the wake of the development of COVID-19 in several countries, I wanted to share with you some further information on the measures we are taking at City District.
The health and wellbeing of our guests and members of our team are of utmost importance, which is why we have been following closely the advice provided by the Government, NHS, PHE and PHS since last month.
We made the decision to enforce a self-quarantine of 14 days for any member of our team who had travelled to any affected areas, and we have restricted travel to these areas until further notice. We have requested our team members not to travel abroad unless it is an emergency and we have also implemented an on-the-spot temperature measurement of our team members at work.
Whilst hygiene and sanitation have always been part of our strict internal guidelines as a restaurant group, we have implemented a series of measures to ensure these are even stricter, including regularly sanitising door handles, supplying guests with touch-free hand sanitisers, replacing serving cutlery even more often than usual, among many others.
We will continue to monitor this situation as it develops and will keep you all updated.
We believe that if we all take the right measures and act responsibly we should be able to minimise the effect current circumstances have on our daily lives, and we should be able to do what we love doing the most, which is making all our guests feel special.
Should you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact me.
I take this opportunity to thank you for your continuous support.