Relief, stress and aches and pains: at the La Terrasse des Métiers brewery, time for the final preparations

REPORTAGE – After a year of discontinuous activity, this brasserie in the 12th arrondissement of Paris is preparing for the long-awaited reopening. Customers promise to be there.

Hello, La Terrasse des Métiers? Yes we will be open tomorrow, but we are not taking reservations … It’s complicated, with health restrictions … See you tomorrow!Emmanuel Fabre’s phone rings literally every five minutes. We are on the eve of the reopening of bars and restaurants – or at least their terraces – and customers are trying in extremis to secure a table to take advantage of this liberating moment. “Some even try to reserve a table for 4 p.m. or 5 p.m., that is to say not at all for a meal but to be sure to have a seat in advance at happy hour.», Smiles the co-manager of La Terrasse des Métiers, Emmanuel Fabre.

But in terms of organization, it was impossible for the restaurant to take all the reservations, hour by hour. There is already so much to do. We had to sweep and prepare the terrace, which will only be able to accommodate customers up to 50% of its total capacity from May 19 until June 9. Approximately 60 place settings will therefore be set up in this space delimited by planters and located on a large square in gray tiles, in the heart of a group of offices.

Get back into the rhythm

The managers could have nibbled more space in this square to set up more tables. But that would have meant even more demanding service for the five servers at the independent restaurant. Emmanuel Fabre points to the patio, and the three small steps leading to the terrace: “a service here is sporty. Servers browse an average of 12 to 15 kiosks per day as part of their work. So, extend the terrace …

For several months, all the tables and chairs on the restaurant terrace had been stored inside. Le Figaro

The servers, moreover, fear that the warm-up will be harsh: the day before, Monday, they were called to participate in the big cleaning: sweeping, washing the floors, polishing the counters. It took about eight hours. “I have some aches, smiles Angélique, who is one of the establishment’s five servers. But we all can’t wait to get back on track after this long period without work. We just need a little warming up.

This Tuesday, the kitchens are running at full speed. Orders were placed with suppliers the week before, in advance. Other restaurateurs waited until the last moment to order their raw materials, for fear of inclement weather in particular. Enough to put pressure on the entire logistics chain, in slow motion for months.

This tension is felt in the pace of deliveries, but the Terrasse des Métiers team can be reassured: on the eve of the resumption, “90% of the dishes offered will be ready», Assures the chef, Pascal Olivier, who finishes detailing zucchini. “And then, if one or two à la carte dishes are missing, the customers will not hold it against us.», We believe in cooking.

So we focus on the essentials. The sirloin steaks will look good on the slate. At their side, essential, fries: “this is what all our customers demand from us, assures Emmanuel Fabre. It’s not something they cook at home.»They will also accompany the homemade quiche. It is the co-manager of the establishment, Vanessa Lainé, who is detailing and rinsing them. An employee of the kitchen is indeed in contact, and could not join in the preparations.

A cook being a contact case, the co-manager of the establishment, Vanessa Lainé, lends a helping hand in the kitchen. Le Figaro

With her hands immersed in the water bath of the sliced ​​potatoes today, Vanessa Lainé will be at the counter tomorrow to pilot the shot. Finally, she will have the relief to see money again entering the coffers, after weeks of scarcity. “Due to our high costs and despite partial unemployment and the solidarity fund, we had to take out a new loan, explains Vanessa Lainé. The problem is that after such a long closure, we expected to no longer be subject to health constraints … And yet, they are still there.

A profitability issue

The co-managers put up posters “NO COUNTER DURING THE SANITARY PROTOCOLFor customers who would like to grab a cup of espresso before heading to work. Catering professionals know that it will be necessary to explain again, repeat the rules. “Often, customers think that we are the one imposing them, sighs Emmanuel Fabre. But it’s not our fault!For the restaurant, going without the counter will also be a loss because, placed end to end, all the coffees served – at 7 am for the first workers, and around 8 am for the executives – represent a significant turnover.

Weather, attendance, impact of health restrictions: many unknowns still weigh on this recovery and give rise, in the voice of the co-managers, a touch of anxiety. The restaurant’s co-manager telephoned managers in neighboring businesses to make sure employees would soon give up teleworking. “We will do everything to make the reunion as beautiful as possible, says Emmanuel Fabre, standing between the delivery boxes and the crates of cold drinks scattered in the hallway leading to the kitchen. But financially, we are going through a very difficult time. We will not be able to afford a new closure.


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