‘I hope people order in a lot’
Student hospitality sector suffers from lockdown
The Smooth Brothers is empty. ‘It’s hard to come to terms with. Two days ago, we were packed’, says owner Yama Masoud.
The Zwanestraat location of the juice and smoothie bar has switched to focus on delivery, while the Zernike food court branch closed down when the UG and Hanze university did so. ‘We just have to get through it. We know it will have a positive long-term effect on society and healthcare.’
Christoffer de Vries with Beijk Catering, who manages the food court, says the lockdown has far-reaching consequences. ‘These businesses have no incoming funds, but they do have expenses. It’s an unreal situation, and it differs per business, too.’
While some businesses make money from delivery, not all of them have the capability of making that switch. Tea room Bij Britta in the Oude Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat, popular with students taking a break, will be closing its doors for now.
‘We understand why, but it’s being enforced. We’ve got no choice’, says owner Anne Froma. ‘We won’t be making any money for three weeks. We can handle it, but I’m afraid we’ll be skipping our vacation.’
At pub De Pintelier, owner Eric Harder is extremely bummed out. ‘It just sucks. We’re locking everything down for the next few weeks.’
Even the businesses that will be switching to delivery-only don’t have guaranteed financial security. ‘Students make up most of our customer base and a lot of them are going home. That could lead to problems for us’, says Nina van Randwijk with Broodje Ben.
Located at the Korreweg, Broodje Ben was always focused on delivery and take out. ‘We’ve not been heavily impacted by the virus yet, but we’ll have a look at our incoming funds this week and take actions where necessary’, says Van Randwijk. She’s still optimistic: ‘People are stuck at home, so maybe they’ll order in a lot.’
The Smooth Brothers has been delivering through Fooddrop, but is now in talks with larger parties, like Uber Eats. ‘We’re exploring responsible options in these difficult times.’