With restrictions now tightening hospitality to a takeaway only model, things are pretty tough around town at the moment.
At my bar, Rude Boy, in Hobart, we’re trying hard to adapt and stay positive having already had to slash our casuals’ hours if not let them go completely. So for us any help from those around us getting our name and new-found services out there is essential.
Help like Tristan Lutze is giving with his Instagram page and website Saving Plates. A great new platform connecting Sydney customers with restaurants offering take out and delivery.
When I find out about it, I was keen to find out what it’s all about and how venues can get onboard.
How long have you been around the hospitality industry?
I’ve been working as a food writer in some capacity for the last ten years, which has seen me work closely with chefs, bartenders, restaurateurs and other members of this incredible industry.
How has the coronavirus affected you?
Directly, I’ve lost most of my work (or had it put on indefinite hold), and I’m not sure I’ll be getting any new commissions for a while. As a freelancer, that’s pretty tough. Having said that, there are so many people worse off than me. It’s absolutely breaking my heart seeing so many of the people I’ve worked closely with over the last decade (and those I haven’t) lose these incredible businesses that they’ve worked so hard for.
How did the idea for Saving Plates come about?
I was watching the industry fall apart and I was desperate to do something to at least try and help. I saw a few restaurants pivoting to takeaway, even when they were still allowed to trade normally, and I thought it might be useful to have a place where people who were keen to self-isolate but still wanted to eat great food and support restaurants could find all the places offering that service. I asked a couple of friends for name suggestions, chose one, then locked in the Instagram account and bought the URL. It all sort-of happened in an hour.
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Craving curry but the supermarket shelves are bare? Desperate for your favourite restaurant’s incredible pasta but nervous about dining in? We’re here to tell you which of Sydney’s restaurants have temporarily launched takeaway menus (and even, in some cases, home delivery services), so you can keep enjoying the best food the city has to offer while maintaining that important social isolation. Even better, you’ll know you’re helping support the hospitality industry through this unparalleled crisis, keeping chefs, suppliers and everyone else involved in preparing your meal employed. Tastes good AND feels good. Visit savingplates.com.au for the growing list of participating restaurants. Logo by the incredible @blaiseyc
What’s the page traffic like at the moment?
We’re still getting thousands of views per day, but it’s falling away, so we’re thinking of some new initiatives that will encourage people to keep supporting restaurants, bars and all these other small businesses trying to hang on.
For those who haven’t seen the website yet, how does a venue get themselves listed?
There’s a form on the website to fill out. From there, myself or one of the excellent people who have volunteered their time will add the listing.
I see on the website, it’s got the potential to go national when do you think this will happen?
There are some amazing people doing great, similar things in other states (like Dani Valent in Melbourne), and I don’t want to step on their toes or make it too confusing for customers. But as things settle down (it’s been a tumultuous couple of days), we might all look at how we can best help each other.
Where do you see Saving Plates going from here?
It’s so hard to say, since we’re seeing such frequent changes to the legislation and the guidelines. For a while I entertained having some physical market stalls set up around Sydney where restaurants could sell their takeaway produce at no charge to them, but I think with increased calls for isolation that’s no longer the way to go. Basically, however I can support the hospitality industry, I will. I, and everyone else, owes it so much.