The wave of the Health Pass is coming to restaurateurs

Gauges in restaurants? Gauges for terraces? Who can control identity legally? Employees with a single dose allowed to work? So many questions ….

The health pass arriving on August 9, 2021 as announced by Gabriel Attal, government spokesperson, obviously poses the problems of applications in the field.

In recent days, Parliament has definitively adopted the bill aimed at combating the coronavirus epidemic and the rise of the Delta variant.
For restaurants recovering from closures imposed for health reasons, how is this new stage experienced? In a few days, to get to restaurants, bars and cafes, it will be another music.

The health pass had already been extended over the past 14 days to “places of leisure and culture” which brought together more than fifty people. Precisely, and the restaurateurs …

It is not that chefs and good restaurants only in Lyon or Paris. And yes, the pink city is full of good gastronomic addresses. In Toulouse, we eat well: meat and many local products. We have a good time at the table. There is no shortage of epicureans and the third-half spirit so dear to the local religion: the oval is never far away.
Because yes we know the Parisian chefs, the restaurateurs who sometimes come from the South West to the capital. But there are many who bring taste buds to life every day in the city of reds and blacks (Toulouse stadium).
And it was to two of them that I offered an interview.

One Thomas FANTINI is a child of the ball, oval on the one hand certainly, which, on the other hand, opened almost twenty years ago, an essential address: the Pergola. Since then, in his brilliant forties, he has continued to prosper, creating a group: Esprit Pergo, with its various restaurants, spaces and caterers that make it up. In addition Thomas FANTINI is vice-president of Medef 31 in charge of food, events, tourism and sport.

Who more suitable then to answer first my questions concerning the doldrums of the Covid19 crisis and its return via the 4th wave?
PhB: Hello Thomas, how did you professionally experience these confinements 1 and … 2 can we say?
TF: obviously very hard. Both in human terms and in the way it came into effect. I got involved in the administrative follow-up of the group and my wife in the commercial follow-up, because we had no visibility at those times. Our group consists of teams in the establishments but also a team of 6 administrative staff. It was a very active containment / deconfinement I can assure you.
PhB: The economic benefits for your group, which is present in several sectors?
TF: It would be a lie to say that there were few. Present in sectors that are all hit hard by covid19 (catering-events-hotels-catering) the economic consequences were undoubtedly significant but far from crippling. It was necessary to manage the EMP, partial unemployment, … to ensure the sustainability of the group in all activities. I immersed myself in it for lack of field activity.
PhB: The arrival of the health pass …. a few words?
TF: Vaccination as a remedy for the crisis, I will not come back to it, it is the solution. However, I find the way of doing things very delicate because today all the trades are in tension, in recruitment, and the teams are stressed … And that creates additional stress. When we see the first sector affected by culture: cinemas, … we see a very significant drop in activity. Today we are barely recovering from everything that happened, we are in the process of rebuilding our own funds, with this urgent decision, this will inevitably create a drop in attendance and put us in difficulty. Pity!

PhB: Finally, to make our readers salivate, a dish from your menu to highlight?
TF: There are obviously plenty of them but to name just one, I am thinking of the strong product of our last open restaurant ADN (Aventure De Nomades): local pork ribs the American way. It is so popular at the moment that we are thinking of integrating it into the menus of the other restaurants in the group. It is a recipe based on local products, our trademark, gourmet and original.

The other, Franck COUSO (Gardner for friends), took over a good restaurant in Toulouse with a friend, “the Point d’Ogre”, five years ago. Retaining the local gastronomic spirit, the fireplace for grilling over a wood fire, the address is always full.
A first experience, a single establishment, a major crisis, I went to ask him the same questions:
PhB: Hello Franck, you have only one establishment, how did you professionally experience these confinements 1 and … 2 can we say?
FC: During the first confinement, humanly it was very difficult. A team of 6 people to whom you say “tomorrow we’ll stop” without knowing what the day after tomorrow is up to, without everyone knowing how they are going to pay their bills.. Help came later, but at the start it is a feeling of falling over a precipice.
PhB: The economic benefits for your restaurant were terrible?
FC: In the beginning, in all honesty, we nibbled away all our savings since the takeover of ‘Point d’Ogre’. State aid has enabled us to pass the course. That is to say that without making any money, be careful, these aids made it possible to meet the needs of the restaurant. Without them it would be wrong.
PhB: The official arrival of the health pass …. a few words?
FC: I do not question the vaccination, it is the solution, nor the effect of the last variant. Factually, as we all need to be vaccinated, for example at Toulouse, if we start from 50% of the population who already are, 300,000 must still be. At an average of 10,000 injections per day, it will take 30 days, plus 4 weeks for the second dose and 2 more weeks for optimal effect. Or two and a half months from this day! And this pass will come into effect …. shortly. It’s hard to get any steeper.
That said, I will have the necessary measures applied to keep my restaurant running smoothly. Hoping that the vaccinated clientele will be large enough to make “Point d’Ogre” an economically viable restaurant as well. Indeed the aids are disappearing. Even for indoor establishments like mine, in the middle of summer.
PhB: Finally, to make our readers salivate, a dish from your menu to highlight?
FC: on the one hand, the wood-fired grills in our fireplace which stands in the center of the restaurant …. And it is always cool there, even in summer, because we are in an old building with thick bricks. Otherwise I recommend the “fevoulet”, the cassoulet with beans, in season, much less pasty than its famous cousin and who is our flagship product.

Whatever the case, and even if everyone has their own trajectory in the world of plates in Toulouse, the future does not appear as rosy as the name of the city suggests. Despite all the passion that drives them, the stress is palpable. However, it is hoped that, as soon as the health crisis is better controlled and the population reassured, Toulouse residents and others will not fail to meet again for new and tasty feasts at Thomas, from the Pergola to its new DNA restaurant, and its dishes of the world in the local way or at Franck’s for good convivial and romantic moments. Thank you both for taking part in the interview game in these times of absolute disruption for them and their teams.

At any rate, know that addresses are tested and approved by your host. For the old pillar that I was, I even had the chance to cross the shield of Brennus and the European rugby cup thanks to one of them!
The Pergola: 262 avenue de Lardenne, 31100 Toulouse
DNA:36 avenue Bernard Maris, 31400 Toulouse
Le Point d’Ogre:7 Rue des Paradoux, 31000 Toulouse