Owners of an acclaimed Birmingham restaurant dubbed ‘Brum’s safest place to eat’ have revealed that business is booming with more bookings per week than before lockdown.
Craft owners Sam and Emma Morgan say the restaurant has managed to flourish despite the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic which has wreaked havoc on the British hospitality industry.
One of the reasons for Craft’s popularity is its four eye-catching glass dining pods on The Terrace at the International Convention Centre, offering customers a secure bubble to dine inside.
Sam, who opened the independent restaurant with his wife Emma last summer, said: “We anticipated opening with very little footfall but currently we’re doing 600 covers a week – four times more than when we went into lockdown.”
The couple are determined to put safety first during the current crisis, maintaining a two-metre rule for tables even after official guidelines had reduced it to one-metre, and checking temperatures at the door.
Sam explained: “We’d rather have a restaurant half-full of happy, relaxed people who are confident that we are doing the right thing than rooms packed full of nervous diners. We’d rather be too safe than take any chances.”
Diners Lyndsay and Iain Snape, from Lichfield, visited Craft for the first time last week after hearing about the restaurant’s COVID-safe measures.
Iain had been shielding at home because of health issues and the restaurant visit was the couple’s first meal out in Birmingham since lockdown was announced.
Lyndsay said: “We love going out in Birmingham, but we’ve been really cautious since lockdown restrictions were eased.
“Going to Craft was like a breath of fresh air. Once we’d had our temperatures taken at the entrance, we felt safe eating outside and the heaters made it cosy.
“The pods are also ideal for anyone concerned about mixing too closely with other people, and the widely spaced tables gave us the confidence to relax. We had a fantastic meal and the attention to detail was superb.”
Whenever weather allows, Craft currently serves customers at well-spaced tables on its heated outdoor terrace, minimising the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
And the restaurant’s four distinctive terrace dining pods offer the perfect environment for people who prefer to isolate still further – with all four booked up until the end of November.
Sam said: “In the dark times we feared for our future along with the rest of the hospitality industry, but we remained focused on surviving and kept on marketing our restaurant while many other businesses cut back.
“We have to be adaptable and remain positive. Some businesses complain about rumours of a possible curfew, but I’d rather face reduced hours than endure another long closure. I’m confident that coming to Craft carries no more risk than shopping at Tesco.”
He added: “We don’t think there’s anything quite like us in Birmingham. All of our great food and drink is sourced in Britain and all of the wines we offer are British – I think we are the only restaurant in the UK brave enough to do that.”
Westside BID general manager Mike Olley praised Craft for carving itself a distinctive niche in Birmingham’s culinary scene.
He said: “Craft is unique, and we’re delighted that the restaurant has been able to build its reputation and business despite all the challenges that 2020 has thrown our way. The dining pods have to be the safest places to dine out in Birmingham.”
Craft is based in the ICC unit previously occupied by the Italian restaurant Strada. Its chef is Andrew Sheridan, who rose to fame on the Great British Menu.
For more details and to book, visit https://weare-craft.co.uk/.
By Paula Young.