Technology is now very much on the menu at Evuna Restaurant and Bars in Manchester.
The company has four Spanish restaurants and tapas bars in Deansgate, Northern Quarter, Knutsford and Altrincham and, like the rest of the industry, had to close its doors in March because of Covid-19.
Pubs and restaurants were finally allowed to reopen on July 4th but strict rules on social distancing means restaurants like Evuna are running at 50 per cent of the covers they did pre-Covid – and they’ve turned to technology to fill some of the gap.
They now operate a takeaway service through the zero commission takeaway app Appaway and online food delivery company Deliveroo.
Evuna’s co-owner Jane Ajilowura Dowler admitted it had been a tough time for the entire restaurant and hospitality industry.
“When Boris Johnson announced the lockdown at the end of March we took the decision to pause everything,” she said. “We decided not to open exclusively as a takeaway because the labour costs exceeded the predicted revenue.
“We didn’t have a takeaway service before Covid-19 but once we were able to re-open on July 4th we started selling through Appaway and Deliveroo and our Altrincham restaurant is already accounting for around 5 per cent of our revenue.
“We’ve called it ‘Dine out’ and have a range of special packaging. Because the restaurants are only operating at 50 per cent of the normal covers it means the chefs have the capacity.”
Mrs Dowler said it was vital the industry took advantage of the technology on offer.
“Even through the restaurants are open some people don’t want to go out so technology enables us to bring their favourite food to them,” she said.
“As well as the food we’re also a wine importer and customers can build their own crate of their six favourite Spanish wines online,” she said.
Joey Xoto, co-founder of Preston-based animation company Viddyoze, said Covid-19 had highlighted that businesses need to operate online and offline in order to survive.
Viddyoze recently generated £200,000 in sales from a video-based course called EXPERT which showed people how to take their business online.
Xoto, who started his career as a videographer before co-founding Viddyoze in 2015, said online sales represented an untapped revenue stream for a lot of businesses.
“Evuna is a really good example of how a restaurant has moved their offline business online and created a hybrid model,” he said.
“People still want to eat out even if they don’t want to go out because of concerns over social distancing. By taking advantage of technology people can now order direct from a restaurant so they’re still eating authentic restaurant food but from the comfort of their own home.”
Xoto said he believed most businesses could trade online.
“If you’re a hairdresser you can sell tutorials online,” he said. “If you’re a personal trainer doing eight one-hour sessions a day you can take your lessons online and reach thousands of people. The opportunities are endless.”
Viddyoze’s technology allows people to create and use their own video animation in three simple clicks and is now being used in 250,000 videos every month worldwide.